Due to the hectic pace of daily life, people look for quick fixes for food, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. Though there are no quick fixes for people whose heart health has already declined or is declining, Fitness Buffhq recommends a list of seven bad habits to break to boost heart and overall health.

Habits That Are Bad For Your Heart

Bad Habit #1

You misperceive an active lifestyle as exercise

The American Heart Association recommends at least thirty minutes of moderate exercise or fifteen minutes of vigorous exercise at least five days a week for all adults. Unfortunately, many people think being on their feet or walking around their workplace or home counts as exercise. Though activity during an average day is an active lifestyle, you should not count it as continuous exercise. What you need is to lace up your shoes and exercise! Including some strength training with light weights or resistance bands can boost your heart health because it helps build muscle & maintain a healthy weight; both are good for your heart & overall health.

Bad Habit #2

You tend to fill your grocery cart with pantry food.

Making healthy food choices becomes easier if you know the layout of the stores where you shop. Aim to fill your cart mostly with vegetables, fresh fruits, lean meats, healthy fats, and olive oil. Go for mainly fresh items. Frozen vegetables and fruits can also contribute as healthy additions to your diet if they are not packed with additives and sodium.

Canned, boxed, packaged, bagged foods and condiments are usually high in sodium and sugars (including high fructose corn syrup), which on the one hand, are not healthy for the heart and, on the other, also make it hard to maintain a healthy weight.

Bad Habit #3

You don’t know vital parameters.

Every adult should know the basic health numbers which directly affect heart health. Knowing these numbers will help you set your goals to stay in range!

These vital numbers include blood pressurecholesterol levelbody mass index (BMI), and fasting blood sugar(glucose).

  • Blood pressure –All adults above 21 should have a regular blood pressure check. And if blood pressure is abnormally high, they should get it checked more often. Healthy blood pressure for all adults is less than 130/80. If it is above 130/80, consult your doctor and work on ways to control blood pressure, such as reducing sodium contained in most processed foods to less than 2.5 grams per day. You should also decrease your weight if your BMI is greater than 25. (High Blood Pressure Cure & Reversal Secrets)
  • Total cholesterol –  LDL “Bad cholesterol” and HDL “good cholesterol” make up your total cholesterol. Your target for total cholesterol is less than 200, LDL less than 100, and HDL higher than 40 for men & 50 for women. (Natural Remedies To Lower Cholesterol)
  • Body mass index (BMI) – Target Body mass index is based on gender, height, and weight. The goal for healthy adults is 18.5-24.9. Levels between 25-29.9 are overweight, and more than 30 are in the obesity range. (Lose Fat To Manage Your BMI)
  • Blood sugar – The fasting blood (glucose) sugar target is less than 100mg/dl. You must see your doctor if your number exceeds this level. Higher levels are signs of prediabetes and diabetes.

Bad Habit #4

You smoke or vape

Both smoking cigarettes and smokeless tobacco vape cigarettes harm your heart health. Thirty percent of cardiovascular events are linked to cigarette smoking. Even e-cigarettes have been shown to increase heart rate & blood pressure and damage the lining of the heart arteries. The chemicals contained in e-cigarettes also have toxic side effects on the lung, brain, and other organs. However, quitting can protect you from many hearts & lungs related diseases.

Bad Habit # 5

You drink your calories.

Unfortunately, many people drink sugary beverages, including coffees, sodas, and packaged juices, which add many calories to their diet with no nutritional value. The habit of drinking sugary beverages every day continues to accumulate. It does not even make you feel satisfied but instead increases your appetite. Switch to water to keep you hydrated and save the calories for eating nutritious food for caloric intake instead.

Bad Habit # 6

You have no healthy habits to reduce stress and anxiety.

According to research studies conducted between 2020-2022 in the U.S. and abroad, most adults reported significant anxiety and stress. Financial instability, marital discords, family issues, job problems, and unpredictability of the future all contribute to stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, very few people have a healthy coping mechanism. Walking in nature, connecting with loved ones, exercising, and meditating can help decrease anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, alcohol, overeating, and other forms of escapism will not help long term. Find out a healthy way to destress yourself.

Related: 14 Proven Strategies To Ward Off Stress

Bad Habit #7

You drink too much alcohol

The recent research studies about alcohol are changing. The answer is now clear. Alcohol does not improve your heart health, and in excess, alcohol harms your heart health and reduces your lifespan. In simple words – less is better.

  • Women should not exceed seven drinks a week
  • Men should not exceed 14 drinks a week
  • One drink = 12-ounce beer or 5-ounce wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits

Correcting these bad habits may seem difficult. You can work progressively to get rid of these bad habits, and you’ll have a good start on enjoying a longer, healthier life.

About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He Renu Bakshi - Fitness Buffhqpassed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”