How to Keep Your Heart Strong and Healthy

"In the future, invasive surgery will be viewed as barbaric. Advances in genetics mean we now understand heart disease on a higher plane. That will translate to better preventative treatments." -- John Elefteriades, M.D., Chief of Cardiac Surgery at the Yale School of Medicine.

In the October 2010 issue of Men's Health, Dr. Elefteriades provides some preventative measures that men and women can take in their lifestyles to significantly strengthen their heart and improve their health.

Cardiovascular Exercise

"Aerobic exercise is key; I hit the rower, stationary bike, and treadmill." says Elefteriades. For maximum benefit, use high-intensity interval drills rather than steady-state training.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a certain weight level is as simple as burning as many calories as one intakes. When the scale begins to climb out of range, simply eat less calories or exercise more during the day. The great thing about exercise is that more of it does not neccessarily preclude more eating for sustenance. One possible reason is that exercise suppresses the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. Even if you have trouble keeping the weight off, your body will be much healthier from past exercise.

Manage Stress

Find an activity that you truly enjoy and take some time out of your schedule to devote to that activity. Elefteriades manages his stress with a pen and paper. "I've started writing fiction. It helps me relax because I have total control over the outcome of events, unlike in my day job." Chewing on sugarless gum has also been shown to boost your brain's relaxation response to stress as well as sharpening your focus.

Source: Men's Health, October 2010

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