Your heart is a vital organ, and while it isn’t a muscle per se, it is definitely a body part worth strengthening.
Of course, you can’t lift weights to build a healthier heart like you can for your biceps or legs. But there are things you can do that can make your heart stronger. On the flip side, there are also things you can do to make it weaker.
You may know that sitting, or being sedentary, is not good for your muscles. It can lead to weakness and atrophy. Well, it can have a similar effect on your heart. Too much sitting can limit blood flow and contribute to unhealthy veins, weight gain, and other heart health issues.
Movement, on the other hand, is a heart builder. It gets your heart pumping more blood and makes blood flow easier. It relaxes veins and arteries so your heart can do a lot more while working a lot less.
Diet can also have an impact on heart strength. Protein is king when it comes to building muscle, but the heart is a little less selective. It ultimately wants foods that don’t contribute to inflammation.
So, what does that look like? It looks like plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes. Healthy fats and fiber are key nutrients, as are antioxidants like vitamin C.
These foods all help keep veins and arteries clear of plaque so your heart can be efficient. On the other hand, processed foods, refined grains, sugar, and junk food can promote inflammation, rigid blood vessels, and wear away at your heart.
A couple of other ways to help build heart strength are stress management and good sleep. A calm mind and a well-rested body keep pressure off your heart so it can function at its best.