How to strengthen the heart muscle: the main methods of prevention
Author Ольга Кияница
A strong heart is a healthy heart. It is better to carry out the prevention of cardiovascular diseases than to deal with serious consequences. There are various ways to do this, starting with exercise and ending with diet and reducing the effects of stress.
The heart, as the most amazing organ of the human body, can shrink more than 100,000 times a day, while pumping over 7,000 liters of blood. Therefore, it is imperative that the heart muscle is strong.
With an increased risk of developing heart disease, it is first of all necessary to think about strengthening the heart muscle. In some cases, before you undertake anything, you need to consult with your doctor or undergo an examination by a specialist. Below are the basic recommendations for strengthening the heart muscle, which are most often practiced in cardiology.
Video: How to strengthen the heart! Strengthening the heart muscle
Basic steps to strengthen the heart muscle
1. It is important to talk with your doctor
Strengthening the heart with exercise can be as simple as a daily walk, but it is important that a beginner gets a professional assessment of his health and general fitness for the first time. If you do the exercises too much or too quickly, ignoring the basic vital signs, then you can end up doing more harm than good to your health.
It is important to consult with your doctor about current risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and general health. In the future, you need to carefully and regularly follow a suitable exercise regime for strengthening the heart, which can significantly reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular pathologies.
2. You need to get up and move
Unlike other muscles, the heart always works. Nevertheless, a long sitting in a sitting position does not allow the heart muscle to strengthen properly. If you stand instead of sitting, or walking, and not standing still, you can make your heart work a little harder. Thus, replacing a sedentary lifestyle with a more active one can help strengthen the heart muscle and simultaneously reduce the risk of heart disease by half.
It is important to know that thirty minutes of mild or moderate physical activity per day can bring significant benefits to heart health.
It is recommended to walk three times a day for ten minutes or take a small thirty-minute jog in the morning or evening.This activity is available to most people, so everyone, if desired, will be able to get some benefits from activating their usual lifestyle.
3. One should strive for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
In addition to getting up and moving more often, you should focus on doing two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week.
This will strengthen the heart muscle. Alternatively, and depending on the level of fitness and doctor's recommendations, you can perform 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, which will achieve the same results.
You can achieve moderate physical activity for the heart and breathing by gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts. For many people, such activities as brisk walking, dancing, raking leaves, gardening or playing with children are just moderate exercise.
Important advice: You can divide your workout into time intervals that will best fit and have a beneficial effect on the body. You can exercise at intervals of ten minutes or more at a time, depending on the chosen schedule. You should not skip classes just because you can’t do it continuously for 30 minutes or more.
With vigorous exercise there is a need to breathe strongly enough, which causes difficulties in conducting a conversation. Such a load is not everyone can do. In such cases, you should consult with your doctor to determine the correct level of exercise for the state of the heart.
4. Habitual exercises can diversify strength training
There are no weight exercises that bring absolute benefit to the myocardium, because it is a unique muscle with a distinctive function. Nevertheless, regular forceful action will enable the heart to strengthen to a greater or lesser degree.The general level of fitness of the organism will also improve, and this, in turn, will facilitate the functioning of the heart.
To keep your muscles in shape and benefit the heart muscle, you need to try two to three strength workouts a week.
Depending on the level of readiness, exercises may or may not include the use of weights and a dumbbell. It is better to once again consult with your doctor about the type of strength training that is appropriate in a particular case. Too much stress or the use of improper techniques can lead to pain in the heart area.
Heart health support
There are recommendations that are common to all people with heart disease. They are useful for the prevention of pathologies associated with the heart. The following four ways to maintain organ health will be considered.
- You need to stick to a healthy heart diet.
Excessive consumption of saturated fats, sodium and sugar contributes to spasm and blockage of blood vessels, which causes the heart to work differently. As a result, the cardiovascular system functions inefficiently or even with impairments.
On the other hand, heart-healthy foods can support proper, effective organ function and help strengthen the cardiovascular system.
It is important to know:
- Whole fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and fiber, which can help prevent the development of atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels. For this purpose it is also useful to use products with whole grain ingredients.
- Lean proteins taken from chicken, fish, legumes, and low-fat yogurt provide the body with essential nutrients. At the same time there is no glut of fats. Some products also provide the intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which mainly strengthen blood vessels and keep the cardiovascular system running smoothly.
- The latest version of the official US dietary recommendations was published in January 2016, and it focuses on making changes to an individual “diet” that includes a wider selection of healthy foods. The guide also presents options for Vietnamese and Mediterranean-style food. Also recommended for daily consumption of various products in an amount corresponding to age, sex and activity level.
- Alcohol should be used in moderation.
Increasing evidence suggests that moderate alcohol intake can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, possibly by one third. However, it is enough to go beyond the permissible limits recommended as moderate consumption so that there is a risk of developing many different health problems associated with the heart and other organs.
The amount of alcohol from one to two standard drinks per day (up to 14 per week) is considered “moderate”. The average is 15 or more units of drinks per week, and here the negative effects on the body begin to appear. Consumption of 21 or more units per week (or more than four in one day) is usually considered excessive and, therefore, harmful to both the heart and the whole body.
It is important to know that an average of about 250 ml of beer of normal concentration, two-thirds of a small glass of wine, or 10 ml of pure alcohol is contained in one serving of an alcoholic beverage.
- Support full sleep
On average, an adult needs 7-9 hours of normal sleep, but many do not adhere to such requirements. The heart, like any other part of the body, needs periodic relative rest in order to recharge itself with energy the next day. Quiet sleep in sufficient quantities allows you to revitalize the heart muscle and body in general, which also reduces stress and blood pressure.
If you can wake up in the morning in a calm and relaxed state, then this indicates a good rest.
- Studies have shown that people who stick to 7–9 hours of sleep per night have less calcium deposits in their arteries (which interfere with blood circulation) than those who sleep either less or more than is generally recommended.
- Preventing cardiovascular diseases allows adequate sleep, which should be combined with other useful practices, such as exercise, diet, smoking cessation and reducing stress.
- Need to work as a team with your doctor
Apart from the fact that the recommendations for its strengthening of the myocardium are being fulfilled, it is necessary to discuss possible problems and risks of developing cardiovascular diseases with your doctor. Along with lifestyle changes, it’s worth talking about whether certain medications may be appropriate in a particular case. If there is a need for medications, they should be taken in accordance with the prescriptions and report any side effects.
For example, a doctor may prescribe statins to lower cholesterol, beta-blockers to normalize blood pressure and heart rate, or calcium channel blockers that relax arterial walls and thereby reduce blood pressure. Or, low-dose aspirin may be prescribed for daily intake, which dilutes the blood and, therefore, eliminates the risk of thrombus formation.
Modern medicines can work wonders, but ultimately a person decides whether to make the necessary lifestyle changes to strengthen the heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases or not.
Video: Cardiologist Leo Bokeria gives advice on how to strengthen the heart
Avoiding unnecessary stress
1. Reducing elevated LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and / or blood sugar
Stimulating the work of the heart with the help of proper exercises is useful for strengthening the myocardium. Another thing is to force the heart to shrink more diligently due to narrowed or blocked arteries. This leads to inefficient functioning and a significant increase in the risk of ailments, such as myocardial infarction and strokes.
Elevated levels of cholesterol, namely LDL, blood pressure and / or sugar in the blood are among the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, but they can be improved or eliminated altogether with diet, exercise and medication.
LDL or “bad” cholesterol builds up on the arterial walls and reduces the lumen of the vessel, which causes poor blood flow. While HDL or “good” cholesterol helps clean the arteries. The level of LDL can be reduced by reducing the consumption of saturated and transgenic fats, increasing physical activity and taking drugs that lower cholesterol levels, such as statins, under medical supervision.
High blood pressure occurs due to an increase in the force of blood pressure exerted on the arterial walls. This can lead to damage that makes the arteries more susceptible to thrombosis. A blood pressure reading of 120/80 (systolic / diastolic) is considered normal, while a systolic pressure of at least 140 mHg is considered normal. Art. or a diastolic pressure of at least 90, usually indicates the need for corrective action through diet, exercise, and possibly medication.
Elevated blood sugar levels, especially when confirming a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, can also damage the arteries and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In such cases, diet, exercise, and (if prescribed) medications that are key to lowering blood glucose are again helpful.
2. Lack of bad habits - smoking
Chemical compounds that are in tobacco, contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, which is responsible for the narrowing of the arteries. Also carbon monoxide contained in the smoke replaces part of the oxygen in the blood. These changes cause hard work of the heart, making it less effective to reduce, and the arteries also become more susceptible to thrombosis.
It is important to know that there is no safe amount of cigarettes smoked or other tobacco products. In addition, quitting smoking is often very difficult. Fortunately, even hard-core smokers can almost immediately have a positive effect on health after they completely give up bad habits.
Five years after the cessation of tobacco use in former smokers, the risk of cardiovascular diseases is about the same as in non-smokers.
3. Controlling body weight
Eliminating overweight is the main way to reduce the many risk factors for heart disease. In particular, there is less chance of increasing cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.
Being overweight can make the heart work harder so that organs and tissues function normally. This is not the same as physical exercise, which strengthens the heart muscle. Excessive weight in the abdomen, apparently, most of all contributes to increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Body mass index (BMI) may be a useful indicator, although it is far from ideal for a person’s weight or indicates a possible need for weight loss. A BMI of more than 25 is usually associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In this indicator, you need to consult with your doctor about the ideal range of BMI and appropriate methods for weight loss.
4. Reducing stress
Excessive stress can adversely affect a number of important physiological processes in the body. In particular, sleep is disturbed, increases blood pressure, which can damage the health of the cardiovascular system. The first step to reducing stress levels is determining stress factors. For example, you can use the following four rules to reduce stress:
- To avoid.
Practicing these effective ways of managing a stressful situation will make you feel more relaxed and comfortable.
Avoidance - you need to reduce the impact of sources of stress. You can avoid stress factors in different ways, for example, to leave earlier to avoid a quarrel or to prevent the provision of additional work / duties. You can also change the social circle with whom it was usually possible to spend time.
Change - it is worth trying to reduce the severity of stress, changing the source of its receipt. This can be done by changing your own behavior or switching to communicating with other people. You can also ask a loved one to cook dinner or lunch, if such a duty annoying. Additionally, you can try to reduce the amount of time during which you have to be exposed to stress. For example, if a neighbor is very often concerned, you should try to meet him less often.
Adaptation - it is worth changing your expectations and usual reactions in order to better fit into the existing reality. To do this, you need to identify negative thoughts, especially where they begin, and then you should replace them with positive images. This will improve your own mood and motivation. You can try to conduct some practices that will determine what is important in the long term and what is not. For example, if you had to be late for work, you can remind yourself that this is just one day, and it was only five minutes late, instead of feeling guilty all day long.
Acceptance - in some cases, you will have to accept a source of stress. This applies to situations that cannot be significantly changed. In these cases, openness with other people regarding their own feelings and the identification of positive things in life can help. This will avoid concentrating attention on the negative. Sources of stress can also be regarded as an opportunity for learning, where you can learn to cope well with stress.
If you need help with stress management, you can seek help from a doctor and / or a mental health professional. It can benefit the emotional and physical state and help the heart in particular.
Video: 9 ways to quickly relieve stress - How to remove negativity and find peace
Natural means to strengthen the heart muscle
In addition to exercise, diet, avoiding unnecessary stress, you can use natural ways to strengthen the heart. They are not so little, but will be considered the most effective and easy to use.
Garlic has been used for centuries to strengthen the health of the heart, as well as other organs and systems of the body. During its grinding, compounds called allicin are released. This is exactly the substance that gives garlic such a peculiar smell. Scientists think it helps maintain vascular elasticity and improves blood circulation.
If there is a desire to use garlic, then it is better fresh, but not in the form of an additive. But first you need to ask your doctor if there are any contraindications, because if you have to take blood thinners or there are blood clotting disorders, then garlic can increase the risk of bleeding.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
If you have to take drugs to lower cholesterol, doctors agree that an antioxidant called CoQ10 may be worth trying. It is naturally found in virtually every tissue of the body, including the heart. With it, cells produce the energy necessary for their growth.
Studies show that CoQ10 helps blood vessels maintain their flexibility. The substance also fights atherosclerosis, which affects the endothelium of blood vessels, which can lead to increased blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. A study conducted in the journal PLOS One in 2015 showed that in older people who took Coenzyme Q10 as an additive with selenium, another antioxidant, the risk of heart attack was halved over the course of four years.
- Red Yeast Rice
This ancient remedy, also known as Angkak, is created by mixing fermented rice with yeast. According to its properties, it is a naturopathic statin; therefore, it is often recommended as a natural remedy for those who wish to lower cholesterol in the blood. Also, its use can help alleviate the pain associated with chemical statins.
Another natural way to strengthen the heart muscle, because it helps keep cholesterol within normal limits. But if there is a high risk of cardiovascular diseases, flax seeds should not be taken instead of medicines prescribed by a doctor.
Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are often recommended for people with various heart problems. Omega-3 helps to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation that may affect the walls of blood vessels. The substance also contains a large amount of fiber of plant origin, which is called lignans. With their help, according to research, the accumulation of cholesterol and plaque in the arteries is reduced.
To get the maximum benefit for the heart muscle, it is the seeds that are selected, not the oil. Seeds should be crushed and preferably fresh, which will allow the agent to have a better effect on health. If the seed is consumed whole, then it passes through the intestines, not being digested, and this will give zero health benefits.
- Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 is often associated with improving the condition of the heart muscle. A 2014 study found that diets rich in vitamin K help reduce the risk of death in people who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
The substance helps prevent the accumulation of calcium in the bloodstream, in particular in the arteries and blood vessels. Scientists also believe that people who do not receive enough vitamin K2 have more calcium in their arteries, which is why heart disease often develops. It is noted that the accumulation of calcium in the bone tissue and its location outside the arteries leads to an improvement in the function of blood vessels and a decrease in the age-related stiffness of the arteries.
Clinical studies are currently underway to ensure that vitamin K2 can help reduce the dips leading to heart attacks and strokes.
Resveratrol has received fame in the past due to its content in two products, many loved ones: chocolate and red wine.Gradually, resveratrol supplements for strengthening the heart, whose effectiveness was based on the irrefutable results of clinical trials, gained popularity. All according to some doctors for people at serious risk the use of resveratrol did not add much benefit.
Foods high in antioxidants, called polyphenols, are good for the heart. Resveratrol is a polyphenol that naturally occurs with other polyphenols in certain foods. Therefore, it is recommended to consume dark chocolate with a glass of red wine within reasonable limits, and if you wish, you can add blueberries, grapes and pistachios.
Use of dietary supplements in patients at high risk
Some doctors believe that people taking several drugs to treat blood pressure, diabetes and other heart diseases should not take herbal supplements. Therefore, natural remedies are more suitable for the prevention of heart problems.
However, before you want to try the last natural or folk remedy, you should consult a doctor. Some substances can help you feel better, while others will interfere with drugs that are prescribed for permanent treatment of major diseases.
- To strengthen the heart you need to try to perform moderate exercises for 150 minutes a week.
- During workouts, you do not need to heavily load yourself, the most suitable intensity of charging, when in the course of its implementation you can speak.
- If there is a higher level of physical fitness, you can focus on 75-minute vigorous exercise per week.
- In addition to the exercises, you need to make sure that you have about 7-9 hours of sleep, as this reduces the risk of calcium deposits in the arteries that interferes with blood circulation.
- It is necessary to maintain weight in the normal range, not to smoke and consume alcohol in moderation.
- Reducing the effects of stress will also strengthen the heart muscle and overall health.
- Natural remedies are another opportunity to strengthen the heart and it should be used, but only with the consent of the doctor, then there will be more good for the heart muscle than harm.
Video: Exercise to strengthen the muscles of the heart
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/
2. How to Strengthen Your Heart. Timothy Sherman, RN. wikiHow https://www.wikihow.fitness/Strengthen-Your-Heart
3. Diet and Physical Activity for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. JEFFREY B. LANIER, MD, United States Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky; DAVID C. BURY, DO, U.S. Army Health Clinic, Camp Casey, South Korea; SEAN W. RICHARDSON, DO, Martin Army Community Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program, Fort Benning, Georgia. Am Fam Physician. 2016 Jun 1;93(11):919-924 https://www.aafp.org/afp/2016/0601/p919.html
4. Heart Disease and Physical Activity. Dr Colin Tidy. 10 Dec 2015 https://patient.info/doctor/heart-disease-and-physical-activity
Vessels withstand a huge load, both from the blood and from the various regulatory systems of the body. To function properly, they must be in proper form. Therefore, in some cases it is required to worry about how to strengthen the vessels. Especially often used for this traditional methods of treatment.
There are a number of serious pathologies of the circulatory system that can lead to serious consequences. One of them is a vascular thrombosis, in which arteries, veins, and capillaries can be affected. But the most dangerous condition is the formation of blood clots inside the heart. Such a violation must be eliminated as soon as possible, otherwise serious consequences may arise.
No one is immune from a heart attack, but since this critical condition most often develops in people of middle and old age, it is this category of population that needs to be especially vigilant. It is useful to know the signs of myocardial infarction and the actions that must be performed to provide emergency care.