Healthy Heart

Did you know that your heart will beat around 2.5 billion times in your lifetime. How amazing. What I find more incredible is that your heart beats approximately 100,000 times in a day! Whilst you are going about your usual day to day activities, your heart is beating on it’s own without a thought from you. Think about it. How often in a day or even in a year do you actually think about your heart and what it does for you?

Probably very little. That’s ok as we are all the same. Unless there is a health reason, we don’t really consider it. The same goes for all our organs.

But what if you knew how many heartbeats you had left? What would you do differently? Would you continue to do what you usually do? Or would you take the opportunity to do what is most important to you?

We don’t think about how finite our life is. We find ourselves being swept along with daily life, always doing what we’ve done and saying ‘one day’ for many activities. Why not today? Your heart keeps beating and the countdown is on. Make those plans and do more of what you want to. Here are some ideas:

  • Get a list going, whether you call it a bucket list or a fun list. Use your free time to do these things rather than your boring to do list containing housework.
  • Why not plan to do something you keep putting off once a month. Book that racing car driving experience or go and visit your elderly aunt.
  • Ask your friends and family instead of buying you gifts for your birthday or Christmas to do something off your list with you.

If we are lucky enough to get to 2.5 billion heartbeats then you will live to a good age, however, we don’t know what is around the corner. Sadly, our lives may be cut short for many reasons. With this in mind we need to do what we can to look after our heart. Here are a few ways to ensure your heart is as healthy as it can be:

Exercise – I hear the groaning already. I know, you say you will get to it but then another day passes. It is recommended we exercise for 150 minutes a week. 30 minutes a day for 5 days or almost 20 minutes a day for 7 days. It’s hard to begin exercise. If you haven’t done so ever or even in a while. Getting up off your sofa can be a chore. So start slow. Take it a day at a time and see what you can do. Build up slowly so you get to the 150 minutes a week. If you love exercise and are getting a bit bored of your usual routine then change it up and set yourself a challenge. Do it for 4 weeks and see how you get on. As I always say, find exercise you enjoy and it won’t feel like you are having to work to get healthy.

Balanced Diet – This is tough. With so many great tasting foods out there, it really is difficult to be healthy all the time. Here are some known ways to eat healthy for your heart. Eat more oily fish such as fresh tuna, salmon and sardines. Increase your intake of fresh vegetables, why not add some to you lunch as well as dinner. Eat the rainbow. Eat wholegrain pasta, rice and bread. Add nuts and seeds into your diet – why not add them into your porridge or in your salad. Cut down on your sugar and salt intake. Check labels, lots of sugar can be hiding in products marked low fat. Try not to label food as good or bad. Look at your diet overall and see where you can make the changes. When you go out for food, be conscious of what you are eating but at the same time enjoy it. We all over indulge from time to time so try to stick to the 80/20 rule. Eat well for 80% of the time then you can be lenient the other 20%. Have a look online. There are many foods to eat that can help you have a healthy heart, do what you can to help your heart beat for as long as possible. Chat with your GP for advice on healthy eating.

Manage Stress – stress can weigh us down and whilst being stressed doesn’t lead to heart issues, it can lead you to make unhealthy choices. Who hasn’t reached for some chocolate or alcohol after a tough day at work. Look at ways to reduce stress in your life. Take a look at my previous blog post about managing stress.

Reduce your alcohol intake – Instead of reaching for a glass of wine at the end of the day, do something else instead that gives you the same relaxed and stress free feeling. Instead of having a drink every weekend, take a week off, drink alternative weekends. Or challenge yourself to an alcohol free month. Notice how you feel. Doesn’t it feel good to wake up without feeling groggy or hungover. When we drink we also tend to reach for the foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar. By not drinking for a month, monitor how often you reach for these? Has it reduced? You don’t need to take drastic action, if you drink most days, then miss a day out to start with. Go slow. Have a drink of water inbetween drinks or drink a half pint instead of a full one.

Your heart is a wonderful muscle. It keeps you alive by going about it’s duties quietly as you live your life. Think about your heart this week and what you can do to improve it’s health. Live your life to the fullest and make the time to do all the things you keep putting off.

Wishing you a fantastic week. Take care and look after you.

Love Emma xx

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