The recent story in the New York Times that ‘More than half of Chinese men smoke, which is a factor in rising cardiovascular disease, along with other lifestyle factors such as changing diet and less physical activity’ serving as an increasingly bright warning flag. If China, historically a fairly health conscious country – particularly as far as diet is concerned – is seeing numbers of this magnitude, think what the percentage would be from the UK? How many people smoke and don’t try to give up when given all of the information pertaining to illness and disease linked to smoking? How many people try to diet and get fit and don’t receive enough help when making this big commitment? And how best can we take care of our heart health? With this in mind, we give you 3 tips to a Healthier Heart, and a Happier You.
If you’re a smoker, quit. It’s the single best thing you can do for your heart health. Smoking or using tobacco of any kind is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Quitting in most cases is easier said than done, but simple steps can be taken that include,
✓ Quitting with a friend.
✓ Apps on your phone that track how much money you are saving and how much you would of smoked in that period of time, including positive messages.
✓ The NHS service, ‘Smokefree’.
✓ Cutting down how much you are smoking a day, eventually stopping.
✓ Vape Pens & Nicotine patches.
Exercise for about 30 minutes on most days of the week
Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater. Physical activity can help you control your weight and reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. This doesn’t necessary mean you should go out and get yourself a gym membership, as 30 minutes of light exercise can be enough. If a gym isn’t your cup of tea, then why not do a home workout? There are many routines you can do without any gym equipment, and activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count towards your 30 minutes. There have been recent reports, one in particular about a gentlemen losing 2 stone whilst playing the new craze of ‘Pokemon Go’ that go a long way to proving that going out for a walk after work really does work. A key to remember is, if it helps you work up a sweat then it counts towards your total each day.
Eat a heart-healthy diet
Eat a balanced healthy diet paired with the above of the exercise and you will be well on your way to a much healthier lifestyle, lowering your chances of heart disease by a considerable amount. Simple steps include:
✓ Getting in your 5 a day.
✓ Keeping an eye on how much alcohol you drink.
✓ Healthy fats from plant-based sources. (Avocado, Nuts, Coconut Oil).
✓ Eating two or more servings a week of oily fish.
Whether you live in China, the UK or somewhere completely different, the rules are always the same. The solution to keeping your heart healthy boils down to making simple effective choices every day. Whether it is to take the lift or the stairs, to drive or to walk, or to exercise or to sit on the couch, these small choices add up to some big changes in our hearts’ health.
The most important thing to remember is that great cardiovascular health is the best way to live a long and happy life. Go on, get up! Get out! And Get fit!
Article provided by London Cardiovascular Clinic