No matter how young at heart you are, the health of your heart is vital.
Our hearts change as we age. For example, the heart isn’t able to beat as fast as it used to during physical activity or even periods of stress. However many of the heart conditions that we commonly associate with the aging process are in fact caused by poor health rather than age - older hearts in good health can still pump blood at the same strength as a younger heart! Whilst the risk of heart disease does increase with age, it isn’t inevitable, especially not for those with a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet.
It’s never too late to make changes to your daily routine that can help to keep your heart healthier – try out our top 5 tips for size!
The NHS recommend that you undertake 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week. This is as little as 30 minutes over five days – so you can take it easy for the other two! You’d be surprised how simple it is to integrate more exercise in to your daily routine, try a brisk walk to the local shops rather than taking the car or bus to the supermarket.
Remember to stay within your own fitness levels and do what you can to exercise a little more each day. The NHS’s top tip for testing if you are working at a moderate pace is to ensure that you can still talk with ease – but that you wouldn’t be able to sing the words to a song aloud.
Eat a heart-healthy diet
Fruit, fish and vegetables! An interesting recipe for a meal but they are the main ingredients in the recipe for a heart healthy diet, why not try to;
- Eat fish rich in omega-3 fats twice each week. Mackerel, salmon and fresh tuna are all rich in good fats.
- Choose foods that are low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals and fibre —fruit and veg are ideal! Aim for your 5-a-day.
- Check that your milk, yoghurt or cheese is less than 2% fat before buying.
- Select leaner cuts of meat such as beef or lamb loin or skinless turkey or chicken breast.
Maintain a healthy weight
Whilst exercise and the switch to healthier diet will help to keep your weight at a healthy level, cutting your alcohol consumption will also help to cut down the weight you are carrying. Whilst the number of calories in each different alcoholic drinks varies, drinking 5 pints of standard lager each week adds up to 44,200kcal over a yea! Making it more than 17 days’ worth of your recommended daily calorie intake – so cutting down, even by one pint could make a big difference.
Avoid smoking or using tobacco products
Stub it out for good! Smoking is #1 on the hit list for heart harming lifestyle choices as it increases your blood pressure and increases the tendency for blood to clot - after a year of giving up you can halve your risk of a heart attack. If you are a smoker, the British Heart Foundation can help you to give up tobacco for the good of your heart, find out more at BHF.org.uk.
Say goodbye to salt!
Remember your reading glasses when you head to the shops - reading the labels on your food is a great habit to get in to, check the salt content of your food before buying - a food is high in salt if it has more than 1.5g salt (or 0.6g sodium) per 100g. Cut out using salt at the table and try to cut out adding extra salt to your cooking or to processed foods which are already very high in sodium.