Wednesday, 10 July 2013

How to have a healthy heart

Keeping your heart in an optimal healthy shape is more then just important. It’s quite critical even! But how do you go about doing that? Many question arise to the surface very quickly when this subject comes to mind... Fortunately the answers to those questions are in fact very clear and easy to understand if you take a little time to get it settled into your brain. Ready for my top 5 list of thing to avoid if you want a healthy heart?

Being overweight

In particular if you carry that extra weight around your waist, puts a lot of unnecessary, and quite severe strain on your beloved heart. To find out if you have an (over) weight problem you have to know your height to weight ratio (short: WHR). Now let’s work this out together okay?
  1. First measure round your waist in centimeters and then divide that number by your hip circumference. These measurements should all be in centimeters.
  2. If your measuring tape happens to be in inches (which is usually the case in the US)  you will need to respectively multiply each measured number by 2.5 before you divide one by the other.
  3. If the number you end up with is greater than 0.8 (for women; if you do this for your boyfriend or husband the number should not be greater then 0.9) then your fat distribution is quite likely  associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular (= heart related) disease and / or diabetes. Pretty scary huh?!
Research in the past few years has clearly shown that many overweight people with angina, slightly higher then normal blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure found their physical as well as their heart condition improved significantly, even after losing only a portion of their excess weight. Many of those who kept their weight off are actually able to reduce their medication (if they have any) or even stop it entirely.

Regular exercise is important for your heart too!
If you commit yourself to stay active through regular exercise such as running, bicycling, fitness, earobics etc., it will vastly speed up your basal metabolic rate (the speed at which the food is being digested). This means in effect that you will burn more calories in a shorter time span, not only when you are exercising but in fact for some time after physical exercise as well! People quite often imagine that they have to exercise hard in order for it to have a positive effect, but ubterestingly enough it’s actually enough just to take some exercise that leaves you warm and breathing heavily, yet still able to hold a conversation without gasping for air.

How many steps do you take?
Here’s a fun little fact: Did you know that every day most people take between 3,000-4,000 steps? And that's just not enough to keep your body slash heart in a fit enough shape! Experts in the field of cardiology state that we should aim to take at least 10,000 steps in order to maintain a healthy heart. Increasing your activity level to 10,000 steps per day will burn between 2,000 and 3,500 additional calories per week, which in effect results in achieving a much better health profile and in fact a longer lifespan as well. There are a lot of ways you could increase the number of steps you take on a daily basis such as: get up to change the TV channel instead of using the remote control, park your car further from the supermarket entrance, take a walk in the local park or your own garden / backyard, walk or bike to your work or school a few times a week instead of taking that environment unfriendly car that only makes you lazy (and costs a lot of money!).
Extra tip: by using a pedometer you will be able to keep track of the number of steps you have taken while at the same time it helps you to motivate yourself to clock up those extra steps!

Giving up smoking
It’s very likely that quitting this bad habit is going to have a humongous (positive) effect on your heart condition. Carbon monoxide, which is produced when you smoke cigarettes attaches to the red blood cells in your body, so that in the blood of smokers up to half the blood can potentially be carrying carbon monoxide rather than oxygenDo you still wonder why many smokers are breathless?! If you need help in your strive to give up smoking, then maybe you could try one of the books or CD’s by Allen Carr, I’m poretty sure you know at least his name. He has helped literally millions of people to give up on the bad smoking habit.

And, if you don’t already...

Start flossing your teeth!
This may seem a bit odd in relation to the health of your heart, but trust me for a moment, it has actually been shown though extensive research that there is a clear link between gum disease and heart disease! The exact mechanism isn’t very well understood fully yet, but flossing your mouth jewels and having regular dental checks is very important for a healthy heart indeed!

Give love to people around you and receive love from them. The scientific evidence isn’t there as we speak, but it has been shown through multiple tests that people who have, are in loving relationships and receive a lot of love from people around them also tend to have long and happy lives.

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