Taking Care of Your Heart: Tips for a Healthy Cardiovascular System

From the moment your heart starts beating, it fuels every moment of your life — the all-nighters in college, playing your favorite sport, dropping the kids off to school, even those rare nights where you get an uninterrupted eight hours of sleep — your heart is the engine that keeps you going.

But sadly, In the United States, a life is lost to cardiovascular disease every 33 seconds. And in 2021 alone, over 695,000 people succumbed to heart disease, accounting for 1 in every 5 deaths across the nation.[1]

Understanding the gravity of these statistics is not just a matter of awareness; it’s a call to action. It reminds us of how important it is to take our heart health seriously and double down on heart disease prevention.

9 tips for a healthy cardiovascular system

1. Stay active

Your journey towards a healthier cardiovascular system begins with movement. As we age, staying active becomes even more crucial for maintaining heart health and overall vitality. Experts recommend doing some form of cardiovascular exercise for at least 150 minutes each week.

Consider activities like brisk walking, swimming or cycling. They will elevate your heart rate, get your blood flowing and help control your blood pressure.

2. Eat heart-healthy foods

Embracing a balanced, heart-healthy diet helps keep your heart in fighting shape. As you grow older, make sure to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein into your diet.

Opt for foods rich in antioxidants and fiber and steer clear of those with high amounts of saturated fats, trans fats and added sugars. When you eat healthy, you give your heart the nutrients it needs to stay strong and functional for the long term.

3. Maintain a healthy weight

Studies show that maintaining a healthy weight significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and improves heart health.[2] In fact, being overweight or obese increases the likelihood of developing conditions like hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol — all precursors to heart disease.

As we age, our metabolism slows down, making weight management more challenging. But, eating mindfully and controlling your portion sizes can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Talk to your doctor to figure out your optimal weight. Then, use a combination of diet and exercise to achieve it. This not only supports your heart but also enhances your overall well-being.

4. Quit smoking

This one’s non-negotiable. It’s common knowledge that reclaiming your cardiovascular health means bidding farewell to smoking.[3] Here’s why quitting matters:

  • Reduced risk of heart disease: Smokers face double the risk of developing heart disease compared to non-smokers.
  • Accelerated heart health improvement: When you stop smoking, your heart recovers quickly, no matter how long you’ve had the habit. This helps prevent heart disease and reduces the risk of stroke.
  • Enhanced blood circulation: Smoke-free living improves blood circulation. As a result, your heart functions more efficiently.
  • Long-term health benefits: In the long run, quitting smoking reduces the risk of developing conditions like lung cancer, respiratory issues and cardiovascular disease.

Seek support from smoking cessation programs. With counseling services, you can embark on your smoke-free journey even if you’ve been a lifelong smoker. Your heart and your entire body will thank you for it.

5. Manage stress

Severe stress can elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease. We all deal with stressful situations from time to time, but to stay healthy, it’s important to work towards reducing and managing stress.

Try deep breathing, mindfulness meditation or gentle yoga to help you feel better. These activities help you relax, lower the amount of cortisol in your body and better prepares your body to handle stress.

Cultivating hobbies, engaging in gentle cardiovascular exercises and spending time in nature can also offer a welcome respite from life’s pressures.

6. Get regular health check-ups

Make heart health a priority through regular check-ups, including routine screenings for blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

By proactively monitoring your health, you could potentially catch heart issues early on and act on them, before they flare up into more serious conditions. Talk to your doctor about a check-up schedule based on your health history and risk factors.

Additionally, considering the unpredictability of health events, having comprehensive health insurance offers an added layer of protection. Health insurance helps you get the medical care you need without the financial stress.

7. Prioritize quality sleep

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, sleep often takes a backseat. Yet, it’s a vital component of heart health, especially as we begin to age. Routine sleep supports hormone regulation, blood pressure control, and overall cardiovascular function.

Strive for 7 to 9 hours of undisturbed sleep each night to promote optimal heart health. You can try doing relaxing things like reading or gentle stretching before bed to help your body know it’s time to relax and get ready for sleep.

The result? You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the new day.

8. Limit alcohol consumption

While moderate alcohol consumption may offer some heart benefits, excessive drinking can have a strong detrimental effect on your heart and overall well-being.[4]

Limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.[5] Be aware of portion sizes and opt for beverages with lower alcoholic content whenever possible to aid your heart disease prevention efforts.

9. Embrace heart-healthy hobbies

It’s a good thing that many of the things we love are also good for the heart. Adding heart-healthy hobbies like gardening, gentle cardiovascular exercises, quality time with family, or playing music to your routine not only makes you happy but keeps your heart healthy.

These hobbies help lower stress, improve your mood and get you active — all factors that contribute towards a healthy heart.

Proactive heart care helps keep you healthy

When it comes to your heart health, every choice matters — from the foods you eat, to the amount of stress you take on, to the activities you enjoy.

By embracing a lifestyle centered around cardiovascular health, which includes activities like exercise and frequent health check-ups, you empower yourself to live life to the fullest.

At Mutual of Omaha, we understand the importance of putting your heart at ease and helping you lead a better, healthier life. Together, let’s prioritize our hearts and cherish the moments that truly matter.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Heart Disease Facts.” Retrieved February 2024 from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
  2. Havard School of Public Health. “Healthy Weight.” Retrieved February 2024 from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/
  3. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “How Smoking Affects the Heart and Blood Vessels.” Retrieved February 2024 from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/heart/smoking
  4. National Library of Medicine. “Moderate Drinking and Reduced Risk of Heart Disease.” Retrieved February 2024 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6761693/#:~:text=Although%20heavier%20drinkers%20are%20at,either%20heavier%20drinkers%20or%20abstainers
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Dietary Guidelines for Alcohol.” Retrieved February 2024 from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/moderate-drinking.htm#:~:text=To%20reduce%20the%20risk%20of,days%20when%20alcohol%20is%20consumed