7 steps to a healthier heart

Exercise and healthy eating are about so much more than how you look. It’s also about health. Short term, long term, physical and emotional health. Here’s what you can do to look after your heart health.

What is “heart health”?

Our entire cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) is vitally important to our quality of life. Heart disease and heart attack are two of the most common risk factors both men and women face.

Prevention is definitely better than cure for heart health. This means understanding your individual risk factors, knowing about hereditary risks, identifying lifestyle areas that you could improve on, and taking steps to maintain your positive heart health habits.

Risks factors for your heart

Most heart health risk factors can be avoided or reversed. The four biggest threats to heart health are high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and high cholesterol. Some risk factors like age and family history can’t be changed. But even those can be managed by knowledge and application of healthy habits.

Can you improve heart health?

Yes! There is a huge amount you can do to look after your heart and reduce your risk of heart-related health issues. Here are 7 things you can do right now to look after your heart and set yourself up for a healthier future.

7 steps to a healthier heart

1) Exercise! Being active is one of the best things you can do for heart health. It maintains the health of the heart and blood vessels, helps keep your weight healthy, and helps manage stress which will contribute to lower blood pressure. Find a form of exercise you like and combine it with regular non-exercise activity like walking.

2) Walk every day. I know it can be hard to find time for a walk, but walking is so important for heart health, weight management, and general health. It doesn’t have to be one long walk. How about getting 10 minutes here and there 3-4 times a day?

3) Add more fruit and veg. In an ideal world, we’d all eat 5-8 portions of fruit, veg, or salad a day. Start small by adding just one more portion than you already eat. Experiment with new things and don’t get stuck in a rut.

4) Eat more wholefoods. Wholefoods are good for heart health because they contain fibre, micronutrients, and antioxidants. This means eating less processed food and more real food like vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, lean meat and fish, eggs and other foods that look like their original form!

5) Eat fat – but make it healthy. Our bodies need fats, but there are definitely better types of fats to eat. Prioritise omega-3 fatty acids, which you’ll find it fish and seafood, egg yolks, nuts, seeds, and flaxseeds.

6) Maintain a healthy weight. If you struggle with this, please get in touch – I’d love to help you. My best tips include prioritising lean protein, vegetables, and wholefoods. Aiming for an 80/20 diet (20% of treats!) Keeping an eye on portion sizes. And understanding the habits that have led you to being overweight so you can work on replacing them.

7) Relax and unwind. It’s time to start taking stress management seriously. It might never be possible to get rid of stress entirely, but we can all find ways to manage our response to it. Try walking, time in nature, gardening, sitting with your pet, chatting to a friend, journaling, reading, breathing, meditation – find what works for you.

Do you worry about heart health? Or wish you knew if you were doing the right things to protect your heart? Drop me a line to talk about my in-person and online coaching where we can focus on diet and fitness for all-round health.

Coach Joseph Webb.

‘The number one rated Personal Trainer In Henley and Oxfordshire’

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