SEVEN STEPS FOR A HEALTHY HEART

SEVEN STEPS FOR A HEALTHY HEART

The human body has quite a lot of inbuilt redundancy, but there are some organs that really have to be kept in tip-top condition. Here’s how to look after something that doesn’t show – your heart.

1. ENJOY GOOD FOOD

There are no foods guaranteed to prevent heart disease, but there are foods and lifestyles which have been shown to lower the risk. Get Mediterranean, eat fresh and seasonal and don’t be afraid of good fats.

2. KEEP FIT

The recommendation is for three hours a week of moderate activity, which really isn’t too much to ask. Anything that gets you a bit breathless and sweaty is doing the trick. So whether it is a gym class, a hilly walk or a long cycle ride – get active!

3. WEIGHT CONTROL

Eating right and getting exercise will mean that weight control should be simple. Being overweight puts extra strain on your heart, as well as muscles and joints. Make life easy, lighten the load!

4. STOP SMOKING

Do we even need to say it? Smoking raises blood pressure, clogs arteries, increases heart attack and stroke risk – and that’s just the effects on your heart.

5. GO EASY ON THE ALCOHOL

We’re not going to say that you need to give up your glass of wine or well deserved pint of beer. Your heart (and your waistline) will thank you to keep within the recommended limits. Any benefits from drinking are only possible from keeping it restrained.

6. GET CHECK UPS

High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are the two symptomless conditions that present risk to your heart. A five yearly blood pressure check and cholesterol test are recommended for everyone over 40. Younger people may also wish to get an occasional check-up.

7. KEEP CALM!

While stress does not directly cause heart attacks or strokes, it can contribute to conditions such as angina. Being stressed also encourages unhealthy things such as smoking, drinking too much or eating too much. Seek to calm yourself in other ways.

There is a theory that we only get a certain number of heartbeats  - so maximise your allocation by looking after your heart.


The Author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.

Comments

Paula C.
5 September 2017

Paula C.

I also drink wine regularly to help me relax, and I do think this is better than not drinking and being more stressed.

Helen P.
23 August 2017

Helen P.

The Mediterranean diet is the one big change I've made to me diet over the last few years after reading research on the heart benefits. I find that the easiest of all the above options!

Claire H.
17 August 2017

Claire H.

I have read that a few glasses of wine each week are very beneficial for the heart, so I have been doing this for a few years now. It also relaxes me, which I feel must also be good.

Michael A.
13 August 2017

Michael A.

So glad you mentioned the last point - remain calm. The negative effects of stress are completely underrated. Exercise and healthy food has its place, but if you top all that with continuously flooding of stress hormones and misery you are still damaging your body.

Jim R.
12 August 2017

Jim R.

I know most of us under 40 will read this and think 'not me'. But I know someone only in his mid thirties who is already on a heart warning from his doctor regarding weight and alcohol consumption. I can only hope that he listens.

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