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As with most things having to do with your health, knowledge helps you better understand what health conditions you are at particular risk for, and helps you to make informed decisions about how to improve your health. Knowing what puts you at risk as well as how you can control some of these factors allows you to better manage your health and well-being.

Cholesterol: High cholesterol is a contributing factor to heart disease, and is tricky because there really are no symptoms.

High blood pressure: Not unlike high cholesterol, high blood pressure can be sneaky, seemingly appearing out of nowhere at times.

Inactivity: People who don’t get out and get moving are at greater risk for blood clots, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack, as well as other heart problems.

Stress: Chronic stress negatively impacts your health and can cause issues related to your heart.

There are several ways you can decrease your risk of heart disease, most of which don’t require you make huge adjustments to your lifestyle.

Get moving: Inactivity is a contributing factor to heart disease, and so it makes sense that physical activity is one way to help minimize the risk. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym to make a real difference. According to the American Heart Association, even a 30-minute brisk walk five times a week can help lower your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Get a massage: Whether you’re regularly active and have a fitness regimen or are just getting started, research indicates that incorporating massage therapy into your exercise plan may be beneficial to your heart.  Massage therapy reduces inflammation of muscles acutely damaged through exercise, which is good news for people who like to get out there and stay active but occasionally are hindered by injury or soreness.

Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol: Controlling these two fairly significant contributors to heart disease is crucial to maintaining heart health.

Stay on top of stress: Keep stress in line with regular exercise, meditation, yoga, and massage therapy.

Massage therapy to help your heart: More and more research shows that massage therapy is beneficial for a variety of conditions, and helping relieve stress is one area where massage really shines. Massage has been shown to reduce stress and related symptoms, including headaches, shoulder tension, insomnia, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain. Massage therapy can also, when used in combination with standard care, help reduce stress, anxiety, pain and fatigue in patients facing late stage disease.

So, along with exercise and eating right, consider how incorporating regular massage into your health and wellness practices can help you better manage stress, and help you take better care of your heart.

©The Academy of Massage Therapy and Bodyworks
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