National Heart Month - Looking After Your Ticker
Friday, February 12th, 2021 | Uncategorized
February marks National Heart Month, an awareness event which aims to highlight the importance of heart health and the dangers of heart disease. Many of us take our heart for granted. As we go about our day-to-day lives, we’re happy to let it tick away, pumping blood throughout our bodies, but the key to a long, healthy life is giving it the care it deserves.
There are currently around 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart disease, and around 4 million of those cases are men and 3.6 million are women. Coronary heart disease is the most common type, but there are numerous conditions related to the heart. With much of the country stuck indoors this year, physical activity has been limited to going for runs and exercising within the home. With this in mind, we wanted to put together a few ways you can take better care of your heart during lockdown.
One of the easiest ways to look after your hearts is simply change your diet. While it’s always tempting to snack on sugary treats or salted delights, processed foods are not great for the heart. These foods build up the amount of cholesterol in your system, meaning your heart has a hard time pumping blood throughout your body, which stresses it over time.
Rather than processed foods, start incorporating the likes of leafy green vegetables, whole grains, berries, walnuts and beans into your diet. These healthier foods will not only promote healthy growth and development in many parts of your body, but they are also excellent for your heart.
The country is still in a national lockdown, so exercise can be difficult. This doesn’t mean you can’t exercise though. There are plenty of creative ways to get your daily exercise in without ever having to leave the home. This isn’t to say you can’t though, as current restrictions still allow for daily exercise such as a jog or a walk.
For exercising in the home, there’s plenty of routines that involve stretches which will get your heartbeat going. It’s been said a million times before, but yoga is an excellent option for indoor exercise. Yoga not only provides an excellent source of exercise, but it is also a great form of stress relief, providing a relaxing, low-impact way to relieve tension.
Completely avoiding stress is impossible, unless you went and lived on a cloud or something. Unfortunately, everyday life is filled with stress points and unforeseen circumstances, so avoiding it completely is impossible. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to avoid it where possible. If there’s a particular point of stress in your life, try to solve what the issue is or remove yourself from the situation.
How you cope with stress can also have a big effect on your heart. If you’re someone who internalises stress and just deals with it on a daily basis, you could be putting yourself at risk of heart-related health issues. Taking the time to relax and destress can work wonders for your mental health and ultimately the health of your heart.
It should really go without saying at this point, but smoking is absolutely one of the worst habits you can have when it comes to heart health. Smoking blocks your arteries, meaning your heart has to work hard to pump blood around the body. It takes only two to three weeks after quitting smoking for your blood flow to improve, adding what could potentially be years to your life expectancy.
Sleep is the body’s natural healing process, allowing every part of you to rest and recover. The heart is an important part of the process, and conditions like insomnia have been linked to heart conditions. Six to eight hours of sleep per night is the recommended amount for a healthy heart, so make sure you get into bed nice and early!
We only ever get one heart in life, so hopefully these tips for a healthier heart have helped you feel a little more confident about how you can maintain it. Do you have any tips for a healthier heart? Are you going to follow any of the tips above? Let us know in the comments below.