February marks National Heart month, taking place from the first during the entire month.  To look after your heart health is absolutely vital to your everyday wellbeing and quality of life. While everyone is aware of the heart’s functions, if you ask the question ‘how do you care for your heart?’ few of us would be able to come up with a comprehensive answer. National Heart month highlights the importance of heart health, to help us all live long and healthy lives.

With this in mind, here are five tips to look after your heart for great health…

1.Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight 

Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease, and so maintaining a healthy weight is essential to looking after your heart health. The key to ensuring you’re of a healthy weight is through a balanced diet and exercise.  

You can find out whether your weight is healthy by calculating your BMI. Your BMI looks at your weight for your height, sex, and age. It then determines whether you are underweight, healthy or overweight. If your BMI indicates that you are overweight, or very underweight, this will put strain on your heart. If this is the case, it’s important to make lifestyle changes to ensure you sit within the healthy category.  

A balanced diet is key. And it should include whole foods and lean protein, while being low in sugar and fats. For more info about what constitutes a balanced diet, take a look at our other articles: Healthier Diet – 5 Simple Tips and Eat The Right Way – Diets Don’t Work – Fact.

2. Keep an Eye on Cholesterol and Blood Pressure  

Much like being overweight, having a high blood pressure and/or cholesterol can also put you at higher risk of heart disease. Put simply, cholesterol is a fatty substance that is carried in your blood. Your body needs some cholesterol to be healthy, but too much of it could lead to a heart attack or stroke.  

Your blood pressure is the rate at which your heart pumps blood around your body. Much like cholesterol, if your blood pressure is too high this can put you at greater risk of heart attack. You can measure your cholesterol and blood pressure at home regularly, with test kits. If you discover that either are high, seek medical advice and take the necessary steps to change your lifestyle to improve this.  

3. Be Active 

To look after your heart, exercising your heart is important to ensure it’s healthy. Cardiovascular exercise is the best way to get your heart rate up and working hard, and will also help you maintain your weight. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day – running, swimming and cycling are all great examples of cardiovascular exercise.  

4. Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol

If you’re a smoker, the single best thing you can do for your heart health is to quit. Smoking is known to be one of the main causes of coronary heart disease, but just a year after giving up, your risk of heart attack will fall to half of that of a smoker, so it’s well worth doing.  

In addition, drinking too much alcohol will put additional strain on your heart. Make sure you don’t drink any more than the recommended amount each week to ensure your heart remains healthy and strong.  

5. Reduce Stress 

While stress doesn’t directly affect your risk of heart disease, it can affect other areas which do increase your risk. Overeating, not getting enough exercise and drinking can all be a product of stress, so it’s important to keep stress levels low to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.   If you regularly feel stressed, try introducing a few calming elements into your lifestyle, such as regular yoga, meditation and massage.

On Site Wellbeing Co KNOW YOUR NUMBERS Health Checks are designed to help your staff protect their future health and wellbeing. The checks are 15 minutes in length and are provided on a “one to one” basis with our Health Specialist.  Included in the checks are Height and Weight, BMI, Blood Pressure, Resting Heart Rate, Blood Glucose – indicator for early onset diabetes, Total Cholestrol, HDL Cholestrol and Total HDL Ratio.  If you would like to discuss the benefits, or if you require any further information please contact OSWC on 0333 9000 212 or email info@onsitewellbeing.co.uk

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