SHAPING UP: Use National Heart Month to introduce good habits into your lifestyle
February is National Heart Month and organisations and charities like the British Heart Foundation are asking everybody to pay attention to their hearts and start living healthier lifestyles.
Coronary heart disease is responsible for 73,000 deaths each year and is the leading cause of death in the United Kingdom.
Most of us know someone who’s been affected by heart disease and the saddest part is, a lot of the time, it’s avoidable by changing lifestyle habits.
So, I think it’s a really good idea to use February’s National Heart Month to assess your way of living and introduce some good habits into your lifestyle so you don’t become a national statistic.
To help prevent heart disease here’s five ways to change your lifestyle and take better care of your heart:Eat Healthy
A healthy and balanced diet can help to reduce your risk of heart and circulatory diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure and can help you to maintain a healthy weight. It can also help to lower your cholesterol levels.
Even if you already have a heart condition, eating healthily can still be of benefit to your heart health.
Try to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, pulses and wholegrain varieties of bread, rice and pasta.
You should also look to choose options that are lower in saturated fat, salt and sugar where you can.Quit smokingSmokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to have heart disease with all the health issues it causes it is the most important thing you can do for your heart.Check your blood pressure
If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, speak to your GP or a pharmacist.
You can normally get it checked at your GP surgery or local pharmacy.
Having high blood pressure means you’re at an increased risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, so it's really important to keep an eye on your blood pressure.
Around 28% of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, which can be caused by unhealthy habits.
Being overweight, drinking too much alcohol and not doing enough exercise are all examples of factors which can increase your risk of getting high blood pressure.
Whatever your age or ability, exercising can help to improve your general wellbeing.
In fact, regular physical activity can help to reduce the risk of developing heart and circulatory disease by up to 35%.
Just taking 20 to 30 minutes from your day to exercise, whether that is going for a run, a walk or a fitness class it can help make such a difference to your heart.
You could start with my 10-mInute Cardio workout which you can read about on this page.
Or if you’d prefer to workout with the guidance of a trainer, we do a 7-Day Trial for just £10. For more info go to www.eastcoast-fitness.com
The British Heart Foundation says: “Every three minutes in the UK, somebody's loved one dies of a heart or circulatory disease. In some cases, they strike without warning.
"These conditions are indiscriminate – they can affect the young, the old, the fit, and the seemingly healthy.
“We're urging the nation to unite behind our mission to help save and improve lives, by going red to raise money for lifesaving research this Heart Month.
"Whether it’s a big ball, an office dress-up day or wearing red fancy dress every day during February - red is an easy theme to have some fun with.”
Go to https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/fundraise/do-your-own-thing/go-red for more details.