” The Yellow Emperor's Canon of Internal Medicine, 2500 B.
Establishing a life filled with good habits can enhance your heart health.
And it is never too late.
“You can do many things you haven't done yet.
” Rob Kall.
Some heart healthy habits are as follows: Pets: Researchers reported at the Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association in 2005 thata 12-minute visit with man's best friend helped heart and lung function by lowering pressures, diminishing release of harmful hormones and decreasing anxiety among hospitalized heart failure patients.
Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to reduce blood pressure in healthy and hypertensive patients.
Studies have shown higher survival rates among pet owners recovering from heart attacks.
People with pets tend to be more energetic and lead a more active and healthy life than their counterparts.
Gardening: The health benefits of gardening are impressive.
Gardening uses all the major muscle groups in the human body.
Gardening also increases flexibility and strengthens joints.
Not only you will get fitter, stronger, happier and more flexible, you will also protect your heart.
And of course, benefit from the happiness the flowers, fruits or vegetables that you grew will bring.
Gardening is often used in cardiac rehabilitation.
Sex and intimacy: Regular loving and enthusiastic sexnot only make you look younger, reduce stress and help you to sleep better, but also prevent heart disease.
Regular sex can cut down your risk of heart attack and stroke by almost half.
The data comes from a study published in the British Medical Journal in 1997, where researchers from the Queens University in Belfast tracked the mortality of about 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade.
They found that men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm enjoyed a death rate half that of the laggards.
In another study done in Japan, people who engaged in adulterous relationships were more susceptible to fatal strokes.
Yoga: The various limbs of yoga practice favorably modulate heart disease.
The five yamas of non-violence, truth-fullness, non-stealing, non-lust and non-possesiveness reduce anxiety, stress and help build good personal and social relationships.
The five niyamas of cleanliness, contentment, austerity, spirituality and introspection also help reduce inflammation and bring relaxation.
The asanas or physical poses bring strength, flexibility and improve circulation.
Breathing exercises improve the rate, rhythm of breathing, besides improving lung function and favorably modulating the autonomic nervous system.
Meditation also has significant heart beneficial effects.
Prayer and Spirituality:Prayer have been purported to relieve suffering by some mechanism that is not yet understood.
However, results of intercessory prayer have not been favorable.
Prayers offered by strangers may have no effect on the recovery of people who are undergoing heart surgery.
In a large study, reported in the American Heart Journal in April 2006, researchers monitored 1,802 patients at six hospitals who received coronary bypass surgery.
a significantly higher number of the patients who knew that they were being prayed for — 59 percent — suffered complications, compared with 51 percent of those who were uncertain.
However personal prayer may help reduce cardiovascular disease.
Several studies have shown that regular church goers have healthier hearts.
Loneliness and Social Interactions: Dara Sorkin and colleagues from the University of California, Irvine, found that for every unit increase in loneliness as measured among older adults in their study, there was a threefold increase in the odds of being diagnosed with a heart condition.
The data was published in the December 2002 issue of the Journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
The cardiovascular ill effects of loneliness also affect younger people.
A study of 45 male and 44 female undergraduate students from Ohio State University (May/June, 2002 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.
) showed that lonely students hada significantly higher vascular resistance and lower cardiac output than non-lonely students.
These changes have been linked to increased risks of heart disease.
Hobbies: The Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines hobby as "a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.
" In other words, hobbies should be usually enjoyable.
Some people find joy in singing, craftwork, playing a musical instrument, bird watching, sports, collecting stamps, going to flea markets, walking in the park, or playing cards.
People with hobbies live healthier and recover better from illness or surgery.
Marriage: The overall health benefits of meaningful social interaction and support are well documented.
Happy marriages lead to a greater life expectancy for both men and women.
Emotions also have a strong impact on your heart health.
A study presented during March 2006 at a meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society found that for women, hostility increases the risk of heart disease, and for men, dominant or controlling behavior increases that risk.
However, divorcing and then remarrying may increases the risk of dying prematurely, according to a study reported in Health Psychology Journal.
Remember, good relationships are good for your heart.
Niceness: Niceness is an antonym of hostility.
Data suggests that about 20% of the general population have levels of hostility high enough to increase their risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack and death.
Patients who have undergone angioplasty but remain hostile have an almost 25 times more risk of restenosis.
So avoid unexpressed anger.
Olive and Flaxseed Oil: Mediterranean diets are renowned for being heart healthy.
A significant part of this benefit has been attributed to olive oil, which contains high levels of mono unsaturated fatty acids and the antioxidants, polyphenols.
Flaxseed oil is derived from the seeds of the flax plant and is rich in alpha-linolenic acid.
This essential fatty acid is an essential fatty acid and is beneficial for heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and even cancer.
So make these oils as regular ingredients for cooking and salads.
Influenza Vaccine: Influenza kills over 36,000 people in the United States every year and is responsible for over 225 000 excess hospitalizations.
Adults with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are particularly vulnerable to its complications.
Vaccination is the primary mode of prophylaxis against influenza.
You should get an annual influenza vaccination if you are over 50 years of age, if you will be pregnant during the influenza season or if you have chronic medical conditions, especially cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, German Philologist said, “The thousand mysteries around us would not trouble but interest us, if only we had cheerful, healthy hearts.
” And one way to have a cheery healthy heart is to develop heart healthy habits.