Get Your Heart Back in the Game

Are sports fans at greater risk for heart attacks?

Fans hold their breath in suspense – at a Hail Mary pass and every time a player is injured and carried off the field. If your heart isn’t healthy, a TV time-out can happen right in your living room, sending you to the ER.

Make sure your heart is healthy enough for fandom. Our partners over at Sharecare suggest diet changes and exercise to make sure that fans are at their peak physical condition for supporting their teams.

Don't play games with your health

From interceptions to kickoff returns, football is a roller coaster of emotions ranging from excitement to anxiety. When blood pressure soars (excitement, anxiety and stress can do that), so does your chance of a heart attack or stroke. Here are a few tips to stay in top physical condition for game day fun:

  • Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in before sitting down to watch the big game.
  • Limiting your amount of sodium intake is another easy way to manage your blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg a day, so try to stick to that guideline.
  • Get a stress ball or other stress reliever for those unpredictable plays.
  • Olive oil, when substituted for saturated and trans fats in your diet, may reduce your need for high blood pressure medication by 50 percent.
  • Most importantly, remember it’s only a game. When your favorite team loses, it feels like you lose to a certain degree. Stress and depression can greatly impact your behavior and health, from overeating to disrupting normal sleep patterns. Try to keep things in perspective. There’s always next Sunday or next season.

Switch up some party favorites to keep the whole team in great shape!

  • Whip up your own dip with low-fat greek yogurt and herbs, but be sure to keep it low sodium.
  • Arugula is high in blood-pressure lowering nitrates. Make sure to add it to your salad mix!
  • Avoid processed meats and opt for turkey and chicken dishes during the game instead.

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