Your heart is one of the most important parts of your body. It constantly pumps your blood around your body. With this action all of the other organs can receive the nutrients and oxygen they need to function. As it is such an essential part of our body it is important that we look after it properly, as poor heart health can lead to many issues and even a reduced life span.
Here are 5 tips to help keep your heart healthy and functioning well.
- Exercise – the heart is a muscle, and it needs to be exercised just like the rest of the muscles in your body. Exercise, especially cardio exercise, helps improve heart health in many ways. It strengthens the heart which means more blood is pushed out with each beat, and therefore blood pressure is lowered. This improves the blood flow in all of the small surrounding blood vessels. Because of the improvement it then minimises any possible blockages in these vessels. It also helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as stroke and diabetes. Aim to do at least 30 minutes of exercises 5 times a week to ensure a healthy heart.
- Watch what you are eating – the food that you put into your body has a big effect on your heart health. Make sure you are eating lots of fruit and vegetables, eat foods that contain omega-3, and eat plenty of fibre. Minimise your intake of saturated fats, sugar, and salt.
- Manage your weight – this goes hand in hand with tips #1 and #2. Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. It is important to maintain a healthy weight by eating well and exercising regularly.
- Stop smoking – if you are currently a smoker, one of the best things you can do for your heart is to stop smoking. Smoking is one of the leading causes of heart disease, along with the many other issues it causes. After just 1 year of giving up smoking, your heart attack risk falls to about half of what it is for a smoker.
- Reduce alcohol – alcohol contains a lot of calories, which can contribute significantly to weight gain. As with tip #3, it is important to maintain a healthy weight in order to look after your heart, and minimising your alcohol intake is a good way to stay at a healthy weight, or to lose weight if this is needed.