While a direct link between heart disease and stress is yet to be established, individuals who’re continually under stress often make lifestyle choices that increase their likelihood of developing diseases like heart disease. According to the APA (American Psychology of Association), Americans engage in harmful behaviors such as smoking, comfort eating, poor diet choices, and inactivity to help manage stress. Additionally, stressed people are more likely to be depressed, anxious, and suffer from hypertension. Read on to learn more.
Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices Triggered by Stress and How to Avoid Them
There are many effective ways of coping with stress without having to resort to unhealthy choices like drinking and taking medications. These include mindfulness practices like meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga. Here is how common stress-induced lifestyle choices can impact your health and well-being:
- Inadequate Physical Activity
Exercise helps reduce stress, lowers your risk of heart disease, strengthens your heart muscle, and helps you keep your weight healthy. It also releases endorphins, which are mood-boosting chemicals. To avoid the negative effects of inactivity and enjoy exercise’s mental benefits, take walks, hit the gym, do mobility & stretching work, or try guided workout classes.
- Eating Excessive Junk Food
Making poor eating choices is a common stress response. While a pizza or a fast food burger may be alluring at the time, you should consider the long-term effects of these kinds of foods. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends avoiding such foods because they have high fat and sodium content. Therefore, consider replacing fast foods with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and lean protein sources.
- Insufficient Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can overexert your heart, elevating your stress levels. Healthy adults should ideally sleep for seven to nine hours each night. You can get better sleep by dimming lights in the house and turning off screens 1 to 2 hours before sleep time, limiting naps during the day, and avoiding drinking coffee in the afternoons. Additionally, consider taking a bath or reading before going to bed.
- Smoking Tobacco
Per the FDA, smoking tobacco deprives your blood and the heart of oxygen. Moreover, smoking tobacco causes plaque to grow in your arteries. The build up of plaque can block arteries leading to blood clots. Big blood clots can block blood flow in your arteries and cause a stroke or heart attack.
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Excessive or consistent consumption of alcohol can hurt your heart over time. According to American Heart Association, men shouldn’t exceed two drinks of alcohol per day, and women’s alcohol daily alcohol consumption shouldn’t exceed one drink. Excessive consumption of alcohol can increase your risk of stroke and high blood pressure. Instead of alcohol, you can opt for a mocktail.
How to Manage Stress and Anxiety Better?
If you feel overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, talk to us at Genesis Performance. We can provide a personalized fitness, coaching, and nutrition plan to help you make better lifestyle choices and live in your prime.