Whilst this is intentionally directed at the older person, the same ethos applies to all age groups. It is important that we try to keep as fit and healthy as we can. It is appreciated that this is not always possible, and some will always struggle to maintain any level of fitness due to underlying health issues. Even if you cannot do all of the tips, then just a few will help keep the old heart ticking.
- Be more active. It is always advisable to consult your GP before starting any exercise regime. It does not have to be Olympian in stature, just aim to do a little everyday, even 10 minutes a day is better than nothing at all. Remember, it does not have to involve walking, running or weights – gardening and housework still count as exercise.
- Healthy diet. Aim for a diet low in saturated fats, no added sugars, or salt. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and high fibre foods. Avoid ‘fad diets’ at all cost. Yes you will lose weight fast, but it will return just as quickly. In fact it is not a diet but a life style change that may be required.
- Healthy weight. Coupled in with what has been said about diet, try to aim for a healthy weight. This is something that I constantly struggle with, but it can be achieved with a healthy diet and active lifestyle. In the long-term, this will help your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and hence help your heart
- Moderate alcohol. Notice I did not say stop or cut it out, just moderate your intake. The Government and NHS lay down their recommendations and it is wish to try to stick to these. However, do not worry about the odd ‘blow-out’, we all have them.
- Manage stress. It has been known for sometime now, that getting outside is good for those who have mental health issues. To be perfectly honest, I think must of us suffer from some form of mental health issue. In 2005 I was diagnosed with PTSD and being an outdoors person made a great difference to me. If, like me your job can be stressful at times – then getting outside for just 15 minutes a day, will help reset your head. You don’t have to walk, just get out into the fresh air and be at one with nature.
- Quit Smoking. After weight control, this is one other surefire way to protect your heart. It is also the one where there are more excuses than there are brands of cigarettes! I started smoking when I was 14 and finally quit 5 years ago after 45 years. There are so many aids these days to help, I used a vape, but at the end of the day you have to want to quit.
This list is not definitive, there will be so much more that can be done to help protect our heart. The NHS and British Heart Foundation have a great repository of help and information on this subject. However, if you are in the slightest bit worried, then your first ‘port of call’ should be your GP.