Heart attacks have been one of the top killers among men in the US for like a gazillion years. How’s that for a downer fact? However, there are many changes you can make to your daily routine that can lower your chance of being hit by cardiac arrest. Your college days of no exercise, smoking, boozing, and eating Jack in the Box at two in the morning already did enough damage to your pumper, so you have some catching up to do. It’s now time to douche your daily rituals and take a cue from some of these tips in order to stave off that heart attack.

No Salt

This point pains us because we built MadeMan on the merits of salt. Okay, not really. The wonderful substance called salt has been around since the B.C. years, which a history professor told us was a long time ago. Unfortunately, salt increases your blood pressure which contributes to heart attacks. A lot of the foods we eat — especially processed foods — already have a lot of sodium in them, so try and avoid using more salt when you’re eating. And if you are the cooking type, don’t add salt for flavor. Your food will be a little bland, but when you have a heart attack — if it doesn’t put you six feet under — the hospital food will be the blandest you’ve ever had.

Suggestion: Use salt substitutes. Even if they do taste like ass.

Stop Smoking

We’re not proponents of big tobacco, but we know that after a few too many drinks puffing through a pack of smokes seems like a good idea (so does hitting the dance floor, but the exercise would be good for your heart). Smoking contributes to heart attacks, as well as cancer and a multitude of respiratory issues. We’re not doctors, but we’re pretty sure those are not good things. Kicking the habit can be a tough thing to do, but surviving a heart attack is no picnic either. Ball’s in your court, Marlboro Man.

Suggestion: Switch to the eCigarette.

Drink Red Wine

Here’s one we can really get behind. While there is still some debate against drinking any alcohol (who are these idiots, anyway?), several specialists suggest a glass of red wine  every day or so is very useful to your heart functions. It keeps the blood thin and the arteries a little more clean because of resveratrol and flavonoids — two of its important components. The popular suggestions have been two drinks per day for men and one for a woman. If by drinks they mean bottles, count us in. On the down side, if you’re not already a wine drinker, doctors are not suggesting you start drinking it now. Damn those guys and their fancy degrees!

Suggestion: Australian wines.

Exercise

Some doctors somewhere claim that this new concept called ‘exercise’ can assist in keeping your heart healthy. And by exercise, we don’t mean walking to the refrigerator to grab another ice cream sandwich. Some dudes think their two power lifting sessions per week will do the trick. Nay, say the docs. You need to do at least thirty minutes of solid exercise every day — mostly cardio. A good routine would be 20 minutes of light jogging followed by sit-ups and push-ups. Build from there. Increase the length of cardio over time and your heart will probably thank you by not collapsing on you in the future.

Suggestion: Don’t forget to have some sweet tunes cranking for your exercise routine.

Don’t Be a Fat Ass

We know exercise can burn calories, but if you still eat like a moron you probably aren’t even breaking even. If you keep cramming pizza and burgers on a semi-regular basis, you will gradually put on pounds even with a steady workout routine (marathoners not included). An occasional splurge is okay, but most dudes turn a splurge into a full weekend of eating like Artie Lange.  Pick a day every other week where you will allow yourself to have a junk food lunch. A dinner works, too, but it’s always better to have the crap food earlier. And still try not to indulge too much during that meal. The less fat you have on your body allows your heart to relax a little.

Suggestion: Try healthier alternatives for your unhealthy favorites. Whole wheat soy cheese pizza, anyone?

Drop Some Baby Aspirin

This follows the red wine school of thought and is not just designed to make you look like a giant dork. Baby aspirin keeps the blood thin and helps ward off blood clotting. Some people take regular aspirin to assist in the heart department, but baby aspirin does the job and doesn’t pack the higher dosage. Doctors have suggested one pop per day should do the trick, but make sure to first check with your own personal M.D. because too much aspirin can cause you to bleed internally — which isn’t the start of a good day.

Suggestion: Just a spoonful of sugar. It helps the medicine go down.

Stop Stressing

We know how stressful life can be. How can we not get stressed when there is so much time between seasons of “Lost” and too little time between phone calls from our parents asking how the job search is going? Stress keeps the blood pressure high and as we’ve learned already, that’s not good for the heart. Practice some relaxing techniques to get your zen on and your heart will benefit. There are many relaxing techniques to choose from, so look around and decide which one works for you — and drinking through a case of beer in one sitting does not count as a healthy relaxing technique.

Suggestion: Fake a heart attack to keep your girl from nagging you. Because nagging stresses a dude out.

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