10 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy and Strong
Cardiovascular diseases are the biggest killers worldwide.
You are bombarded with images, events, hoardings, newspaper clips, social media, cyclothons, marathons etc, just so that you remember you to take care of your heart for the rest of the year.
What intrigues me is why do we remember our heart on one day alone while it remembers us every day, every hour, every minute, every second and beats for us relentlessly without tiring & without sleeping.
People will forget these events in a week or so but God forbid, if your heart forgets you!
Creating Heart Healthy Environment
I’m not going to boggle you with lengthy details but will ask you to pick just one of the following tips to safeguard your heart, stick to it and remember to follow it with every heartbeat.
1. Maintain Ideal Body Weight: Go ahead and start losing some weight today, no matter how little weight you lose but at least make a start.
2. Get moving: If you are a sedentary worker, get up from your desk and walk about in intervals. Best is never take an elevator and use the stairs daily.
3. Exercise daily: Although exercising can be monotonous, you can always take out time for a walk. Walk at least 20 minutes a day 4 -5 times a week.
4. Diet: No, I am not asking you to leave your favourite food and go on a diet of fresh fruits & vegetables. Actually this is emphasised in western countries because they are essentially non-vegetarians who eat a lot of red meat on a daily basis. In India, almost every household cooks vegetables daily. No one gains weight in India with home cooked three meals a day. It’s the in-between snacks and highly fried western junk food with “extra cheese” which adds to your flab. Try to balance a party food with light food the next day.
5. Smoking: Only one thing to say here - quit! quit! quit! The earlier the better.
6. Alcohol: If you must indulge, then make not more than two pegs a day for men and one peg a day for women. Patiala pegs should just be avoided. I think it’s good news I’m allowing you that drink. But in limits only.
7. Stress Busters: Play with children, keep a pet, enjoy nature, look at starry nights, go on frequent vacations, take up gardening, start a hobby - these are all stress busters. You can always find your own stress busters.
8. Sleep: Heart works more in the day time keeping pace with your activities. At night it’s relaxed & beats in rhythm. So you must have 6 - 8 hours of sleep daily.
9. Go for regular check-ups: People with diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol must take their daily dose of medicines without fail.
10. Gadgets: I didn’t mention any. That means they are not needed for a healthy heart. Take out at least one hour of ‘gadget free’ time for yourself. That means no Facebook, Twitter or Candy Crush.
Remember to take the first step to a healthy heart and stick to it!
Common Myths About Heart Diseases
It occurs in old age – not anymore.
It’s a high society disease – not anymore.
It’s always fatal – not anymore.
Yes, at present we know the causes of most of the heart diseases and they are preventable.
There are two kinds of people - healthy ones and those with some kind of heart disease or the other.
While both sets need to be careful, it’s our young fast track urban generation that needs to be more aware of risk factors of heart diseases.
(Dr Niruta Sharma is a Chief Medical Officer in Cardiology Department of RML Hospital, New Delhi. She can be reached out on Twitter @nirutasharma.)
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