SHAPING UP: Five steps to a healthier heart

In less than a month, it's World Heart Day. September 29, the World Heart Federation is asking everybody to pay attention to their hearts and start living healthier lifestyles, so I have come up with FIVE quick wins that you can introduce TODAY to help you avoid this killer disease.

Tuesday, 30th August 2016, 11:00 am
Quitting smoking is a good start to improving the health of your heart.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD’s) are the world’s biggest killer, causing over 17 million deaths a year, and many of these deaths are preventable through lifestyle changes. 

During World Heart Day I’m calling out everyone to focus on their health and work together to help prevent them becoming another fatality statistic.

A Healthy Heart Breakfast Bagel.

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Most people know someone affected, or have themselves been directly affected, by heart disease and the saddest part is that a lot of times it is avoidable by changing lifestyle habits.

Simple changes in diet by reducing your salt intake and eliminating processed foods from your diet and doing a little bit of exercise every day can make a huge difference.

A healthy diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and prevents weight gain which puts pressure on your heart. The introduction of a healthy diet also helps to prevent further worsening of existing heart disease, and it’s not too late to start eating healthily.

To help prevent heart disease I have come up with five simple ways to change your lifestyle and take better care of your heart.

A Healthy Heart Breakfast Bagel.

Eat more vegetables and good fats.

A 2013 study showed that a Mediterranean-style diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by 30% and prevents weight gain which puts pressure on your heart. This type of diet also helps to prevent further worsening of existing heart disease and it’s NEVER too late to start eating healthily.

Reduce salt

Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Check the salt content of any pre-packaged food you buy.

No processed foods

There are lots of hidden saturated fats, sugars and salts in processed food, fast food, and ready meals. I would strongly advise people to check the content of the ingredients of any food they buy and start cooking from scratch together.

Quit smoking

Smokers 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.

Joining a boot camp

The heart is the most important muscle and just a small amount of intense exercise will keep it functioning properly. Workouts as little as ten minutes a day can make a huge difference. If you would like to come and work with me you can try a week of boot camp for only £7. OF THE WEEK

Healthy Heart Breakfast Bagel

This breakfast bagel is a great way to get healthy fats and protein into your diet to promote a healthy heart. It’s quick and simple to make and tastes so good, it’s my favourite breakfast on a weekend.


Smoked salmon, 2 slices

1/2 plain bagel

1/2 avocado, sliced

2 eggs

1 tsp olive oil


Put the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Beat the eggs in a bowl and pour into the pan. Keep stirring the eggs until they are cooked to your liking.

Meanwhile, cut the bagel in half and place under the grill until lightly toasted.

While the bagel is toasting, cut the avocado in half and cut into 1/2 cm thick slices.

To serve place the bagel on a plate and then top with avocado, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Season with black pepper.

It also goes well with honey mustard dressing.


The aim of this workout is to raise your heart rate and keep it elevated for five minutes.

Work for five minutes by completing the ten exercises below for 30 seconds with no rest in between.

30 seconds STAR JUMPS

30 seconds SQUATS

30 seconds HILL CLIMBS

30 seconds PRESS UPS

30 seconds SIDE STEPS

30 seconds BURPEES

30 seconds GET UPS

30 seconds HIGH KNEES

30 seconds LUNGES

30 seconds CRUNCHES

Once you have completed a five-minute round take 60 seconds break and then complete another three rounds. Total time = 23 mintues

Go to for a full demonstration of the workout.


You don’t have to do intense workouts every day. Aim for four intense workouts per week with three recovery days. But stay active on those rest days. Go for a walk or try some yoga to help recovery.


Your Trainer: Graham Low, owner of East Coast Fitness, is an award-winning personal trainer based in Seaham. The ex-professional footballer was nominated for the Small Business of the Year and Leisure Awards at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards last year. Graham won the Leisure Award at the North East Hotels Association Awards while working as gym manager at Seaham Hall in 2012. For personal training, boot camps, small group training and online programmes email [email protected] or visit