Keeping Your Heart Healthy

What we eat and the amount of exercise we do all counts towards reducing the risk of heart disease and premature death, heart disease kills more people per year than any other illness so we should do all we can to help keep our heart in good working order.

Heart disease is a term that covers a range of conditions that affect the performance of the heart; the most common of these is ischemic heart disease, this happens when there is insufficient blood supply to the heart which is usually caused by fatty deposits building up in the vessels that supply the blood to the heart.

Consequences of heart disease include angina, heart attack and arrhythmia, which is the irregular rhythm of the heartbeat. 

What we can do help keep the heart healthy 

Living a healthy lifestyle which consists of eating a proper healthy diet and exercise will help reduce the risk of heart diseases, being active and having a daily exercise routine is the best way to keep the heart healthy.

Lack of physical activity is thought to cause over a third of all deaths from heart disease, it is recommended by health experts that we should have 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days out of 7. 

These 30 minutes don’t have to be done all at once; they can be split over the day into smaller more manageable time slots to fit in with even the busiest schedules. 

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What is moderate exercise? 

Moderate physical exercise is any activity that makes you feel warm and slightly out of breath, but bear in mind that this doesn’t mean gasping for breath to the point where you feel uncomfortable or wheezy. 

Physical exercise can be going for a work out at the gym, running, aerobics workout or just everyday activities such as walking and even housework. 

Exercise not only benefits the heart and reduces the risk of disease but it also will help to keep the cholesterol level low, improve the circulation, help you sleep better and improve you overall general wellbeing.

People of all ages can benefit from exercise as part of the daily routine but if you suffer from any major illness or have breathing difficulties then it is wise to consult your Doctor before taking on any exercise regime. It is also important to remember to gradually build up any routine that you do slowly. 

Other ways to a healthier lifestyle and a healthier heart 

Stopping smoking – stopping smoking not only reduces the risk of heart disease but also other diseases such as lung cancer, it is never too late to give up and within weeks of giving up, you will see improvements in your health. 

High blood pressure – having high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, but changes to lifestyle can help reduce high blood pressure by reducing the amount of salt in your diet and learning to relax more and reduce stress. 

Moderate drinking –
 in people over the age of 40 not drinking excessively can help reduce the risk of heart diseases. A safe limit for men is drinking no more than 3 units per day and for women 2 units per day. 

Eating a healthy diet – eating a range of foods which ensure you receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals can help in the prevention of heart disease and other illnesses, a lot of people could benefit from eating more starchy carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes and bread and eat less saturated fat.