A healthy heart is vital for healthy living, regardless of one’s age or gender. One can prevent major cardiovascular risks, like heart attacks and strokes by choosing a healthy diet, being physically active and not smoking, not just home but even at work.
Mantra for a healthy heart
Exercise: Physical inactivity is a significant contributor to the ageing of heart, as it can lead to excess weight gain and obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Bring about little changes at your workplace which will go a long way to keep your heart healthy like breaks for a brisk walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, a quick walk post lunch, carrying healthy home cooked food to work instead of ordering in, having at least 8 glasses of water a day. You could also form a group and indulge in after-work sports activities. Regular exercise helps in: Slow down the narrowing of arteries to the heart and brain.
Encourage the body to use up excess stored fat, so it is crucial in helping weight loss and fighting obesity
Improve cholesterol levels by increasing the level of good cholesterol (HDL or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) in the blood
Maintain normal blood glucose levels in order to manage diabetes
Reduce high blood pressure
Smokers to quit – smokers who exercise are twice as successful in their attempts to stop smoking
Being active also improves the overall health, gives more energy, reduces stress, builds stronger bones and muscles, and improves balance, strength and mobility.
Eat Right: To help maintain a young heart for life, calories consumed must be balanced with calories burned. It is therefore recommended to combine exercise with a balanced diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, lean meat, fish and pulses, as well as low-fat and fat-free products, unsaturated soft margarine and oils such as sunflower, corn, rapeseed and olive oil.
No Smoking: Smoking, or any use of tobacco, is another important risk factor of heart disease. Quitting using tobacco lowers blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein “LDL” cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels, reduces blood clotting and the chance of a sudden blockage of an artery. Setting a good example by not using tobacco gives a clear, consistent message about the dangers of tobacco to children.
Workplace Wellness: Your work and workplace environment have a significant impact on our physical, mental and social health. It has been seen that a number of chronic diseases impact people in their “working” years, reducing productivity and increasing costs. An unhealthy work environment is characterised by stress, depression, chronic back problems, unhealthy eating habits due to lack of time and decreased opportunity for physical activity. A healthy work environment works to:
Improve employee health
Reduce employee stress
Reduce workforce turnover
Improve employee decision-making ability
Reduce organizational conflict
Know the heart facts: Forty per cent of patients with heart attacks in India are less than 40 years of age.
Regular exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, consuming 5 to 6 servings of fruits and green vegetables protect against heart attacks.
Smoking more than 20 cigarettes per day increase the risk of heart attack by 5 times, 10 to 19 cigarettes increases the risk by 3 times.
If you are a diabetic your chance of having a heart attack in the next 7 years is 10 times more than a non-diabetic, everything else remaining the same.
The first few hours after sustaining a heart attack are crucial for recognition and treatment. Treating a heart attack within the first 2 to 3 hours can reduce the chances of dying from 15 per cent to 3 per cent.
The normal blood pressure at all ages is less than 120/80 mm Hg.