Originally published: 27.OCT.2022
Last updated: 27.FEB.2024
Medically reviewed by Zara Fullerton, Senior Medical Content Manager
Fall in love with cardio, remove all sodium from your diet, and avoid being stressed at all costs. Sound familiar? These are just some of the most common beliefs about what it takes to live a heart-healthy life. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we’re made to believe, and better yet - improving and maintaining your heart health is achievable. Follow these expert steps to help you on the path to protecting your heart health.
How to reduce the risk of heart disease
When making healthy lifestyle changes, heart disease might not always be top of mind - however, it is a lot more common than you might think. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women of all races and ethnicities in the United States - which is why keeping your heart health top of mind is crucial .
Remember, a heart-healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be difficult. These are just some of the behaviors you should begin incorporating to benefit your heart.
#1 Manage stress levels
Whether cramming for exams or trying to hit work deadlines - stress can sometimes get the better of us. When you begin to stress, it has the power to affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk; such as smoking, physical inactivity, and overeating . For a healthier heart, try to manage your stress levels; treat yourself how you would treat a friend, and spend some time doing the things that bring you joy. Talk to a healthcare provider about steps you can take to manage stress.
#2 Get a night of good quality sleep
Sleep is a vital component of everyone’s overall well-being - it allows our body to recharge This means you should place emphasis on whole, plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds for optimum health. One of the fastest ways to clean up your diet? Cut out fruit-flavored sugary drinks and indulge in some fresh fruit instead!
#3 Get active
Exercise can act as a mood booster and reduce stress levels - two things that can majorly affect your heart health. Harvard Medical School says exercise is “an insurance policy that may offer both short- and long-term protection for your heart”; so get those sneakers on and fit some moderate exercise into your day-to-day routine - your heart will thank you! 
#4 Quit smoking
Smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease. A year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack can fall to about half that of a smoker. Nobody said quitting was easy but the positive effects quitting smoking has on your heart and your overall health will give you the motivation you need! 
Are you curious about your heart health? LetsGetChecked’s Cholesterol Testing option can provide more information about your risk of developing cardiovascular (heart) disease by checking your levels of cholesterol, enabling you to work with your healthcare provider to make positive lifestyle changes. Sometimes medication may be recommended to manage conditions that can impact your heart health such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, your healthcare provider will be able to provide further guidance.
Check out our Heart Health knowledge hub for the insights you need to stay on top of your heart health.