February is Healthy Heart Month and as part of our pledge to support the work of the British Heart Foundation, we wanted to provide you with 7 tips for a healthy heart and some helpful pointers on what you can do to keep your ticker tick tocking for longer!

 

1. Exercise

It is really important to remember that your heart is a muscle, and just like all the other muscles in your body, it needs to be worked to ensure it stays in optimal condition. Regular exercise is the best way to do this. Not only will it raise your heart rate and make it work, but exercise will also help you to keep your weight down. Being overweight increases your risk heart disease, which leads us on to our second tip…

 

2. Diet

What you eat plays a big role in the health of your heart. It’s very important to eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and oily fish and to avoid foods high in salt and cholesterol such as fatty foods, including fatty cuts of meat, cream and deep fried foods such as fish and chips!

 

3. Avoid Smoking

We all know smoking is bad for our health. Most of us associate smoking with lung disease, but it’s also a major contributor towards heart disease too. Smoking damages the lining to the arteries, causing a fatty material called atheroma to build up which narrows the arteries. The other chemicals in cigarettes including carbon monoxide and nicotine make the heart beat faster, putting unnecessary stress on the heart.

 

4. Take 5!

Smoking is not the only cause of stress inflicted on our hearts. What we are faced with in our daily lives can make us angry and anxious which also has a big impact on the health of our hearts. It’s really important to “Take 5” minutes out of your day when you’re feeling the pressure mounting. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, have a bath or read a poem and give your heart some relief as well as your head.

 

5. Alcohol

The amount of alcohol we consume is another big influencer on heart health. Drinking too much can cause abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, damage to your heart muscle as well as contribute to liver disease and some cancers. For more advice on exactly how much you should be drinking, visit: www.drinkaware.co.uk

 

6. Sleep

Getting enough sleep helps you to relieve the pressures of the day and allows your body to adequately rest and recover before it needs to get up and do it all over again. Be mindful of overworking your body when you’re too tired. Chances are you’re overworking your heart too.

 

7. Have Fun!

Doing things that you enjoy can be the key to a healthy heart. This is as varied as pursuing a hobby you enjoy, dancing, having sex and even eating chocolate – in moderation of course! Doing things that we enjoy and get excited about can be a huge stress reliever, gets the blood pumping and increases our heart rate, releasing an abundance of hormones that make us feel good!