Heart health is a subject that is close to both the Harris and Cosgrove families, and is the primary reason for undertaking so many challenges and raising money for Southmead Coronary Care unit this year.
While we are certainly no experts in the area, we wanted to provide some information sources for those that want to look after themselves and their heart a little better. From what we have found, there tends to be three main ways to start to look after your heart, which are summarised below, but please, please, talk to a professional for more information. The following advice comes from the British Heart Foundation:
1. Give up smoking!
Smoking is the main cause of coronary heart disease – but giving up has huge benefits. A year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker. It’s never to late to give up, but for more information, speak to your GP.
2. Watch what you eat
A healthy diet can help protect your heart, and reduce the risk of heart disease. A healthy diet will help you control your weight so think about eating as much fresh and natural food as possible, and minimise the amount of processed foods you eat (unfortunately for Dom, this includes bacon). There are a number of things to bear in mind:
- Eat lots of fruit and veg
- Eat oily fish e.g. salmon and mackerel
- Watch your saturated fat intake e.g. cakes, chocolate, bacon; and try steaming or grilling instead of frying food
- Reduce your salt intake to maintain a healthy blood pressure
- Moderate your alcohol intake
For more information, please speak to your GP – a regular check of your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight takes a few minutes and can help you stay on top of your health.
3. Get active!
Your heart is a muscle, which needs regular exercise to ensure it can keep pumping blood around your body. There is a wealth of information about the different types of exercise that you can do, and you only need to find 30 minutes a day (and it doesn’t have to be all at once – three 10-minute periods of exercise will be just as beneficial). It can be anything from taking the stairs more and getting off the bus a few stops earlier, to tackling a longer term fitness goal like a 10k or half marathon. Feel free to get in touch directly with Dom and Cozzie about joining in one of their challenges, or get some Personal Training tips from Cozzie.
The British Heart Foundation and the NHS both provide lots more detail and advice on the topics we’ve introduced above.
Also, Moti in Bristol are helping us with our challenges so take a look at our ‘Get Fit with Moti’ page for more top exercise tips.