Stress-Free Ways To Maintain A Healthy Heart—According To An Expert! 

From staying active to making smart dietary choices, read the four simple yet actionable ways to keep your heart in tip-top shape.

woman exercising
Photo by Gustavo Fring

Caring for your heart is an essential part of maintaining your soulful soft life. Just think about it. If you don’t pay close attention to your health, the repercussions can include pain, stress, and life-threatening side effects. And sis, we don’t want that for you. 

Although it is certainly a deep topic, taking a direct approach to caring for your heart’s health doesn’t have to be stressful. It’s more so a commitment.

We spoke to Dr. Yvonne Commodore Mensah, an esteemed expert from the American Heart Association, and we were enlightened by her insightful tips to keep our hearts healthy. From staying active to making smart dietary choices, read the four simple yet actionable ways to keep your heart in tip-top shape.


Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, PhD, MHS, RN 

Get Plenty Of Sleep

When it comes to maintaining a healthy heart, Dr. Commodore-Mensah cautions us to be mindful about our sleep routine. The expert recommends getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night as it is vital to cardiovascular health. 

While it may be tempting to stay in bed on your day off, Dr. Commodore-Mensah explains that too much sleep can also have negative results. She notes, “Studies show that too little or too much sleep is associated with heart disease.” 

a table with exercise equipment
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Stay Active

According to Dr. Commodore-Mensah, exercise is medicine, and every step counts. She suggests aiming for at least 90 to 150 minutes of aerobic and/or dynamic resistance exercise per week. 

“Three sessions of isometric resistance exercises per week is also helpful,” she adds. 

RELATED | How To Get Back On Track With Your Fitness Routine—According To A Fitness Expert! 

Know Your Numbers

Knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar are important numbers you need to monitor. To get this information, Dr. Commodore-Mensah suggests visiting your doctor. 

“Most people who may have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes may not experience symptoms,” she cautions.

In a heartfelt personal essay for BrownStyle Magazine, heart survivor Dawn Angelique Roberts shared that she encourages everyone to commit to annual checkups and screenings. “I also highly suggest knowing your numbers, which include your body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose numbers,” she wrote.

Prioritize A Heart-Healthy Diet 

Food is medicine. A diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products is key to maintaining a healthy diet. Dr. Commodore-Mensah says it is also important to control your portions.

“Controlling your portions based on your physical activity level may help you lose and/or maintain a healthy weight,” she explains, before advising us to avoid eating foods with a lot of sodium. 

a healthy salad on a white plate
Photo by Markus Winkler

According to experts, eating foods with a lot of sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other health conditions. To combat this, Dr. Commodore-Mensah advises us to stay under 1,500 mg of sodium a day. For increased health benefits, she suggests aiming for at least a 1,000 mg per day reduction.  

Lastly, it is also important to moderate alcohol intake for heart health. This is why the doctor advises drinking no more than 1-2 drinks a day. 

RELATED | I Survived Heart Disease By Speaking Up And Advocating For My Health

For more details on maintaining a healthy heart, be sure to check out the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8, which is the ultimate checklist for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health. 

Editor’s Note: This story has been edited and condensed for clarity.