February is the British Heart Foundation’s National Heart Month. Their vision is “a world free from the fear of heart and circulatory diseases”. There are simple lifestyle changes that we can all make to greatly reduce our risk of future problems.
Could your heart be aging faster than you are?
If you are and worried about the impact of your lifestyle on your heart, take this quick heart age test to find out how your heart age compares to your real age. This test calculates your heart age based on a number of factors including weight, family history and blood pressure. It will also tell you:
- Roughly how many years you can add to your heart age by making lifestyle changes
- Why your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are so important
- How to reduce your heart age through diet and exercise
How to improve your heart health
- Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking is the important thing you can do to protect your heart health. Smoking cigarettes can lead to your arteries becoming blocked or damaged which can cause heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). You are 3x more likely to be successful in your quit attempt with support and it is never too late to quit; after 1 year of not smoking you will have halved your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. If you like support during your quit, you can join our free Be Smoke Free programme.
- Make use of free NHS Health checks
If you are aged 40-74 , with no pre-existing conditions listed on the NHS Health Check website you can get a health check for free. However, if you are outside of this bracket you may need to pay to go privately. Your doctor or nurse will be able to advise which areas of your health need improvement and how you can improve them. These health checks are designed to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or dementia.
- Eat your 5 a day
You should be eating at least 5 portions of fruit & veg a day. The key to the best 5-a-day is variety though and eating healthy foods can lower risk of developing CVD.
- Regular physical activity
It recommended that you undertake at least 150 minutes of exercise a week (75 minutes if it is high intensity). But remember, something is better than nothing and you can gradually build up. If you’d like to get into running, the NHS’ Couch to 5K is a great app to help you get started. If exercise classes are more your thing, we offer free online exercise classes.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Those who are overweight or living with obesity have a greater chance of developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes than those within the healthy range. This in turn increases the risk of heart disease. If you do struggle with your weight though, heart problems are not inevitable. Small changes to your diet and lifestyle can have a really positive impact on your health. If you are looking to lose weight, please avoid unhealthy crash diets and instead opt for Our free Manage Your Weight programme focuses on five key areas of: getting the balance right, the fullness factor, retraining your appetite, getting active and skills for weight management.
If you’d like to become more healthy, our Health Coaches are here to help you get there. You can sign up to more than one of our programmes at the same time too. We can’t wait to help you on your journey to become a healthier you.Back to Blog