The Fab Five: Easy steps to a healthier heart . . .

. . . including a few you may not have considered.
They’re simple – anyone can do them! Even starting with just a couple, combined with a good diet and exercise, can make a big difference.

1.  Don’t sit for too long
This is bad news for those of us who sit at computers and at meetings during our jobs — but staying seated for long periods of time is bad for your health, especially your heart. Research shows dramatic increases in cardiovascular events and deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) among those who sit the most during the day.
What to do   Make a conscious effort to take short walks periodically throughout the day, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away than you normally do, use break time for a short walk outside.

2. Get some sleep
Enough sleep is essential part of heart health. If you don’t sleep enough, you could be causing disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation.
What to do   Make sleep a priority, and get to bed on time. The American Heart Association recommends adults get six to eight hours of sleep a night. Every day you’ll feel better and more alert, and your heart will thank you for it.

3. Stay away from that secondhand smoke!
We all know that smoking is bad for you — and the link between secondhand smoke and heart disease is no joke either, it’s all too real. Secondhand smoke increases heart disease risk 25 to 30%.
What to do  Be firm with smokers, and yourself — do what it takes to avoid environmental smoke.

Here’s one you might not have expected —

4. Practice good dental hygiene, especially flossing your teeth.
It turns out that those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease. Studies are ongoing, but many have shown that  bacteria that develop gum disease can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels.
What to do   Floss and brush your teeth daily to ward off gum disease. It’s about more than cavities now.

5.  Take advantage of your Wellness Visit!
An annual wellness visit to your doctor or healthcare provider can reveal serious indications of heart disease that you may not even have been aware of.
What to do   Many insurance plans cover an annual wellness visit at no cost to you. To make sure you’re doing everything you can to maintain a healthy heart, or just for piece of mind — Don’t Skip the Visit!