Tips for a healthy Heart

A healthy lifestyle will help look after the health of your heart.  A huge amount is written in the press and on the internet about how to look after your health.  There are a few core principles that run throughout all of the advice. I intend to summarise these healthier lifestyle principles in this article.  Essentially they combine taking regular exercise with a balanced diet whilst drinking at least 2 litres of water per day.

  1. Take regular exercise. The World Health Organisation recommends taking 3 x 20 minutes bouts of exercise that raises the heart rate a week. If 20 minutes is too long split into 2 x 10 minute workouts.  However, don’t stick to the minimum, build up slowly to longer periods and perhaps try to do resistance exercise too.  It helps maintain healthy bones and reduce the chances of developing arthritis.
  2. Follow a balanced diet.  Aim to consume at every meal; a third of fruit and veg, a third protein such as meat and fish and a third starchy food such as cereals, rice or pasta.  Snacking on fruit and nuts and seeds is recommended between meals.
  3. Avoid stress.  Stress can be bad for your heart.  Also be proactive about taking stress relieving measures such as a hot bath, a relaxing walk or yoga, Pilates or a tai chi session.
  4. Reduce your salt intake. Don’t add salt to your food, avoid processed foods (as they often have salt added). Read the labels before you buy, remembering that 1g of sodium is worth 2.5g of salt
  5. Keep an eye on alcohol intake (not more than 3-4 units per day for men and 2-3 units for women). One unit is roughly 1 small glass of wine (125ml), a half pint of beer or single measure of spirits.
  6. Avoid smoking at all costs. Both primary and secondary smoking has been linked with coronary heart disease and lung cancer.

All of these measures will help improve the health of your heart.  But are you motivated?  What about getting started on the right track? You could employ the skills of a personal trainer.

You could also put your self down for an event like the London to Brighton bike ride in aid of the British Heart Foundation http://www.bhf.org.uk/get-involved/events/bike-rides/london-to-brighton.aspx?TestGet=Y  Or simply grab your partner or friend and set a goal of exercising every other day to get you started.  Whatever you choose it will beat lying on the couch watching television!

Useful links: http://www.allabouthealth.org.uk/articles/get-your-feet-healthy-heart

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