It's ticker time...love your heart

You only get one heart, so make sure you look after it. Let’s take a look at what you can do to take care of your ticker.

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Eat your heart out

Eating a well-balanced diet helps look after your ticker not only by maintaining a healthy weight but also provides your body with a variety of nutrition helping with overall wellbeing, allowing you to live life to the full.

Along with healthy eating, consuming foods that are lower in salt can help your blood pressure keep in check. Including, healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) into your diet can also help your heart stay happy.

Top tips for a healthy heart include:

  • Aim for at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • An important source of Omega-3, eat two portions of fish a week, one of which should be an oily fish.
  • Eat more peas, beans, lentils and vegetables.
  • Limit processed foods, pastries, fried and fast food - choose healthy sandwiches or rolls, a baked potato or home-cooked food.
  • Cut down on fatty meat products (sausages, pies, pasties, sausage rolls and streaky bacon) – swap for unprocessed meat or fish.
  • Choose plant-based spreads such as olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil.
  • Choose more high fibre foods - high fibre bread, breakfast cereals, oats, brown rice and pasta, plus beans, peas and lentils.
  • Choose healthier snacks such as fruit, fruit loaf, crumpets, dried fruit, unsalted nuts, seeds, low fat yoghurt, high fibre cereals or oatcakes.
  • Keep salt intake low by eating less processed and takeaway foods, salty snacks such as crisps and nuts; canned and packet sauces, gravy products and condiments like ketchup.
  • Stick to the guidelines for alcohol limits (limit intake to no more than 14 per week for men and women spread over three or more days) and aim for two alcohol-free days a week.
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Do not smoke and avoid smoky environments.

Fabulous Fitness

Did you know to improve your cardiovascular fitness can improve the way your body uses oxygen, and in turn, your heart becomes stronger and more efficient at pumping blood throughout your body?

Here we look at the top five exercises that can benefit your heart:

  1. Brisk walking: Regular brisk walking (30 – 35 minutes most days of the week) is a great start to improve your cardio fitness. You can start with brisk walking at a faster pace and build up from here. Remember slow, steady progress is key!
  2. Running: another way to burn calories. If you are a beginner to running, start out with a brisk walk and work your way up. As you get fitter you can increase the minutes you run and your running pace. Always remember to listen to your body!
  3. Swimming: a full-body fitness challenge. Swimming laps of the pool can raise your heart rate and improve cardio fitness.
  4. Cycling: a low impact exercise to get your heart pumping. You can get peddling indoors at the gym or outside on the road, solo or with friends.
  5. Interval or circuit training: mix up your cardio to include some resistance (strength) training. This type of training will not only motivate you to keep going it can improve muscular endurance, strength and heart health.

Heart of the matter is… with a healthy heart the beat goes on.

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