Staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic may be the best way to limit your exposure to the virus. However, you need to stick to your treatment plan and make sure you stay heart healthy at home. It can be hard to maintain a routine when you don’t really go anywhere, but these tips can help you make the most out of your time at home.
1. Find Ways To Stay Active
Staying heart healthy at home means finding ways to stay active even if you can’t go to the gym. Luckily, there are plenty of options for exercise if you’re not allowed to go anywhere. There are countless exercise videos and online classes available if you do a quick search. And as long as you stick to places where it’s easy to practice social distancing, you can get out into your neighborhood to walk or bike. And now that temperatures are rising, it’s a great time to start swimming for exercise. Staying active is good for cardiovascular health and along with the next tip, can help you manage your weight (which will also benefit your heart).
2. Make Food Swaps
If you’re staying at home more, that means you’re probably having to cook more for yourself. Good news: making healthy recipes is a great way to stay heart-healthy at home. And if you’re relying on takeout instead of cooking, now’s a good time to nip that in the bud. Eating heart-smart doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless. You just need to follow these guidelines and find some new favorite dishes:
- Eat healthy fats and ditch saturated and trans fats
- Stick to whole grains instead of refined white flour
- Increase your fruit and vegetable servings
- Cut back on salt. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams or less.
Check out these heart-healthy food swaps to find out how you can replace some of your favorite less-healthy foods with better options.
3. Brush & Floss
You might have heard that your oral hygiene may be linked to the health of your heart. If you want to stay heart-healthy at home, stay on top of your brushing and flossing routine. Dental health can indicate your overall health. People with gum disease often also have risk factors for heart disease.
4. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Staying heart healthy at home includes getting plenty of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between the ages of 26 and 64 need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. However, most people don’t get enough of it. Sleep is an integral part of your overall health and will also help you keep your heart healthy. If you’re staying at home, it’s important that you still stick to a regular sleep schedule.
5. Stay Away From Secondhand Smoke
If you are at risk for heart disease or a heart attack, you already know you shouldn’t be smoking. But if you live with someone who is smoking, secondhand smoke could be doing some serious damage. Take this time to enforce boundaries and relate your health concerns with people around you who smoke. Be firm and don’t hang around someone who is smoking. Ask them to limit where they smoke to spaces you can stay away from.
6. Work On Stress Management
Now is a great time to work on stress management and relief. Not because you necessarily have more downtime (but you might), but because right now there is plenty to be stressed about. Learning healthy coping mechanisms now will help you get through this period of uncertainty and those skills will stay with you for life if you practice them.
7. Call Your Doctor
You want to stay home to limit your exposure to COVID-19, but if you’re experiencing symptoms of heart issues or need to reevaluate your treatment plan, call your doctor. They may be able to see you via a telehealth appointment. Or you may need to go to an in-person appointment. Don’t let that stop you from getting care. Some things are worth leaving the house for. Your heart health is one of them. Just make sure you follow CDC guidelines on social distancing and staying safe while out of the house. Your doctor will definitely be taking precautions to protect their patients as well as their staff.
Dr. Farhan Majeed of Pulse: The Heart, Valve, and Vascular Institute specializes in diagnosing and treating common cardiovascular conditions, including those related to high blood pressure. Dr. Majeed provides a wide range of services to care for your cardiovascular health. To schedule an appointment, call (941) 629-2111.