We all want a healthy heart, after all it’s one of the keys to overall health and wellbeing.
Below you’ll find Open Colleges’ health services assistance student Sarah Bunn‘s top five tips to keep your heart healthy, no matter what your age.
Our heart is an incredible organ belonging to our cardiovascular system, one of ten systems that work together to keep our bodies alive.
The heart pumps the blood around our body delivering nutrients and helping to taking the waste product away.
Why keep it healthy? It’s simple: A healthy heart means a healthy body! Below are five simple things you can do that can help keep your heart healthy.
Get your heart pumping!
One of the best things you can do for your heart is to increase the amount of physical activity you do. The heart is a muscle, so by raising and lowering its rate you are exercising it and making it stronger!
It could be swimming, walking or playing a game of soccer, basically any activity, light or heavy, that will make your heart rate rise and fall.
When most people think about health they immediately think of healthy eating, and this also relates to a healthy heart.
If you frequently eat foods with high levels of trans fat or saturated fat you are putting your heart at risk of damage.
Having a balanced diet with fruit, vegetables and lean meat, as well as limiting your salt intake and drinking lots of water, is a great way to keep your heart healthy and strong.
Give up those cigarettes for good!
Smokers are at high risk of heart disease.
Smoking significantly affects your heart by limiting the oxygen being passed to the bloodstream, which causes damage to blood vessel walls. Your vessels supply your heart with blood and are a key factor in keeping your heart healthy.
If you are considering quitting you should make an appointment to see your GP. They can steer you towards tools that can make the process easier. There are also a number of phone apps and help lines which can help in your journey to quitting.
Lower your stress
Stress can damage the tissue in your heart that forms the inner lining of blood vessels and helps your blood to flow.
Cutting down on your stress levels is a great way to help your heart.
So knowing this, how can you unwind and relieve stress?
- Watch a funny movie
- Do some light yoga
- Read a good book
- Burn a scented candle
- Listen to some music and have a dance
- Get a massage
- Hang out with your pet
- Visit a museum or gallery
- Paint or draw
- Have a gathering with some friends
- Sit down with a puzzle or hobby
Try to relax and take your mind off the stressful situation or get that blood flowing with some exercise.
Go to your doctor for regular check-ups.
Some heart conditions and diseases can occur without any apparent sickness as a symptom for concerns. For example, high levels of cholesterol can form artery blockages and clots and can cause major heart problems. Blood tests can detect the high levels of cholesterol, and your doctor can prescribe treatment which can prevent further damage.
All you have to do is call your local doctor or family health centre and book an appointment!
Keeping your heart healthy will keep you healthy. Following these five tips will help you keep your heart strong so it can perform in top condition. Don’t take your heart for granted! Make changes today for a better tomorrow and a longer, healthier life!