According to the NHS, coronary heart disease remains the UK’s biggest killer, causing ~82,000 deaths each year. About one in five men and one in eight women will die as a result of this terrible disease.
Poor diet, lack of exercise and too much stress are all lifestyle factors which contribute to poor heart health, but it is never too late (or early for that matter) to actively start taking good care of your heart.
Get Your Pulse Racing
Staying active or beginning to exercise regularly helps to control weight, reduce blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and improve mental health. Exercise physically strengthens your heart and increases the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, decreasing the stress placed on the heart during rest and day to day activities.
It is important to begin exercising at low intensity and build your way up gradually, particularly if you have had health issues in the past. The UK government and British Heart Foundation recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week. As you become fitter, additional strength training and finishing workouts with sprints will encourage optimal heart and cardiovascular health.
Cut Out The Junk Food
Too much salt. Lack of the all important five-a-day. These are some of the issues with the diet of the general population. Excessive salt intake increases blood pressure and the risk of a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Combine this with the regular ingestion of trans fats, excessive saturated fat intake, preservatives, additives and too many simple sugars padding out our diets and you have a recipe for cardiovascular disaster. Erratic blood sugar levels, clogged arteries and increased irritability leaving us less able to cope with stress is the result!
Swap the junk for a healthy, clean diet rich in antioxidant packed fruit and vegetables, lean white meats and complex carbohydrates. This isn’t to say you need to completely cut out indulgent foods, but you cannot live on simple sugars and unhealthy fat if you want to reach old age.
Ditch The Bad Habits
You know exactly what I am talking about here. Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, an over indulgent sweet tooth..the list goes on. For the sake of long term health, these habits need to be ditched or at least under control.
Our article on Ditch Dependency and Break Your Bad Habits is full of advice and tips on how best to go about this.