For many people, looking after their heart isn’t always a top priority. However, just a few changes can help everybody make improvements to their heart health.
It’s National Heart Month so there’s no better time to kick-start your heart and improve your health.
Smoking dramatically increases your chance of a heart attack so quitting is the single best thing you can do for your health. Stopping smoking can greatly increase your life expectancy while drastically reducing the chance of contracting a whole host of potential diseases.
When you stop smoking;
- After 20 minutes your blood pressure and heart rate get back to normal.
- After 8 hours Nicotine, carbon monoxide and oxygen in your bloodstream begin to return to normal levels.
- After 2 days your lungs begin to clear and your sense of taste and smell start to come back.
When you stop smoking full-time, you’ll have more energy and improved blood circulation so you’ll find exercising much easier. After just one year, your chance of a heart attack will be half that of a regular smoker.
Take Regular Exercise
The heart is a muscle and, like all muscles, it gets stronger and healthier with exercise. Any exercise is beneficial to the heart, no matter the amount, but it’s recommended that we do two and a half hours of moderate exercises such as brisk walking or swimming per day – or one hour fifteen minutes of vigorous activity like fast running or cycling.
When we exercise, the heart beats with less strain and pumps more oxygenated blood around the body so that your cholesterol and fat levels lower. All these factors further help to reduce the chance of a heart attack.
Have a Balanced Diet
A healthy, well-balanced diet is the final way to achieve a healthier heart. It’s usually easier said than done though! We all fill up on the wrong things sometimes – especially junk food. This is fine in moderation but we tend to eat these fatty, sugary foods far too often which leads to weight gain and a greater risk of heart attack. Next time you fancy a snack or something to eat, fruit and vegetables are full of nutrients and low in calories, so grab an apple or banana to snack on.
Another area of your diet to watch out for is your salt intake. Too much salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure which then increases the risk of coronary heart disease.
It’s equally important to drink the right things. Fizzy drinks have been linked to heart disease because of all the sugar they contain – just three cans a day can triple your risk of heart disease as well as contributing towards weight gain and diabetes.
There’s also alcohol consumption which can raise your blood pressure and lead to a stroke or heart attack. Heavy drinking makes your heart weaker so when you do drink, drink in moderation and always think about your health.
Even the smallest adjustments to your lifestyle can make all the difference to your heart health.
National Heart Month
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