February – National Heart Month
February is National Heart Month and organizations and charities like the British Heart Foundation are asking everybody to pay attention to their hearts and start living healthier lifestyles.
Coronary heart disease is responsible for 73,000 deaths each year and is the leading cause of death in the UK.
“Most people know someone or have themselves been directly affected by heart disease and the saddest part is a lot of times it is avoidable by changing lifestyle habits.
As fitness trainers we can encourage small simple changes to our clients lives that can really make a difference for example by reducing salt intake and eliminating processed foods from your diet and trying to get a couple of hours of exercise a day can make a huge difference.
A healthy diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and prevents weight gain which puts pressure on your heart, the introduction of a healthy diet also helps to prevent further worsening of existing heart disease and it’s NEVER too late to start eating healthily.
These simple easy to follow tips will help you give your clients some easy to follow advice:
- Mediterranean diet – A 2013 study showed the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by 30% and prevents weight gain which puts pressure on your heart, the diet also helps to prevent further worsening of existing heart disease and it’s NEVER too late to start eating healthily.
- Reduce salt – Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Check the salt content of any pre-packaged food you buy.
- No processed foods – There are lots of hidden saturated fats, sugars and salts in processed food, fast food, and ready meals. I would strongly advise people to check the content of the ingredients of any food they buy and start cooking from scratch instead.
- Quit smoking – Smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to have heart disease with all the health issues it causes it is the most important thing you can do for your heart.
- Joining an exercise class/gym – The heart is the most important muscle and just a small amount of intense exercise will keep it functioning properly. Workouts as little as ten minutes a day can make a huge difference.