A winning strategy for heart safety during – and after – the Super Bowl
My heart rate was up when the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the San Francisco 49ers.
Patients I’ve seen recently as well as over the years have shared with me that they sometimes get more than a bit anxious when rooting for their favorite team. Some say when their team does not win, they feel down or angry.
How we experience and express our excitement—during a game like the Super Bowl or life event—can impact our heart rate.
In positive and negative stressful situations, our bodies release adrenaline, which is also known as the stress hormone. This can cause your heart to race. When we are excited because we are happy and supporting our team, the overall effect is positive. If we experience anger or sadness, the overall effect is negative.
This Super Bowl Sunday, we should all heed our heart’s beat—regardless if you are a diehard fan of either team or watch the game for the social aspect of it.
In recognition of American Heart Month—which is already well underway—I offer you my pick-six list for ensuring the safety of your heart as you watch the big game.
1. Motions matter—get up and move! Whether you are watching the game on television or in the stadium, get off of the couch or out of your seat. Stand to cheer. Dance during the halftime show. Encourage others to join you.
2. Before, during, and after the game, keep it positive. Having friendly rivalry, laughing and having fun is good for us emotionally. Over the long term, those who react to others and life positively have lower blood pressure, better blood sugar control, less inflammation and lower cholesterol—all factors that contribute to better heart health, and overall wellbeing. Acting out of anger or addressing others “heatedly” can increase blood pressure, lead to sadness and create more stress for the individual and those on the receiving end.
3. If you have a known heart issue, including atrial fibrillation (AFib) or heart failure, eat and drink alcohol in moderation. Remember to take all medications as prescribed.
4. Refrain from rushing and scrambling to have the perfect game-day food spread. Ask guests to bring their favorite snack or dish.
5. Include healthy food and drink options. Get creative with fruits and veggies.
6. While you are chanting, “E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!”—or anything else—remember to R-E-L-A-X as you enjoy the moment.
At AtlantiCare, we are dedicated to helping you prevent, detect and treat heart disease during American Heart Month and all year long. We encourage you to have a primary care provider.
Share your heart and overall personal and family health history with them. Make sure you have age-based and risk-based screenings and tests. If you have a heart issue, your primary care provider and cardiologist can help you manage it. Visit atlanticare.org/heart or call 1-888-569-1000 to learn more about how we can help you understand what your heart is telling you.
Haitham Dib, MD, MBA, FACC, FACP, is the medical director for AtlantiCare Physician Group Cardiology.