"Rest a While, Run a Mile"; on this Heart Day to motivate yourself to be active. Try to make simple healthy lifestyle choices such as exercising regularly, using stairs instead of elevators, abstaining from tobacco and alcohol.
"Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart." - Gene Tunney
29th of September has been marked as the "World Heart Day" to focus on Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) which is said to be the world's number one killer. Around 17.3 million deaths occur due to CVD and this is expected to rise to 23 million by 2030.
AdvertisementThe key risk factors are unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, tobacco use, and blood pressure; controlling these factors usually reduces the risk of CVD. Though CVD affects individually, environmental factors contribute to its occurrence.
Polluted environments, unhealthy produce, easy availability of tobacco-related products etc., act as barriers that restrict us from making healthy lifestyle choices. It only takes little steps to stay healthy and it starts from places where you live, work and play.
The main barriers that stop individuals from making heart healthy choices include:
- Lack of balanced meals, poor hygiene at schools and offices.
- Easy exposure to second-hand smoke, polluted environments, tobacco and alcohol
- Lack of good green parks and gardens to walk or exercise
- Lack of motivation to cycle or jog with friends or in a group
Heart Healthy Choices At your Home
- Buy fresh green vegetables and include it in your everyday diet
- Avoid sugary foods and munch on nuts, pumpkin seeds instead
- Eat atleast two different fresh fruits daily
- Include spinach and pack healthy lunches for your children
- Stock on calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt
- Restrict your family from consuming chips, soda, processed foods
Keep CVD risk factors at bay
- Avoid smoking, alcohol consumption at home
- Be exemplary to your children by restricting such activities at home
- Teach your children about ill-effects of tobacco-related products and also about the diseases associated with it.
Regular Health Check-ups
- Make sure all your family members visit the family doctor atleast once in a month for master health check-up.
- Keep a record of your family members' weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Educate Yourself on CVD
- Learn about symptoms of cardiac arrest, stroke and other heart diseases
- Educate your family about first-aid measures on heart attacks and what to do if any of your family members experience the same.
- Talk to your family doctor and know about treatment and prevention methods of cardiovascular diseases.
- 80% of CVD occurs at home, so beware about its risk factors and treatment strategies.
Heart healthy choices at your workplace
- Make sure you eat fresh and fully cooked meals at work
- Pack healthy lunches from home and avoid outside foods
Exercise at work
- Stop sitting for long hours, take a stroll on the corridor for every 2-3 hours
- Use the staircase instead of elevators
- Form a group at your workplace to engage in activities such as jogging, cycling etc.
- Motivate your colleagues to work out daily
- Follow routine working hours to keep your body stable
- Avoid stress as it plays a very important role in CVD
- Manage your time while completing tasks and avoid postponing your work
- Don't work late nights. Have a good night's sleep of about 8 hours.
- Ensure your colleagues stay away from cigarettes at office
- Help addicts to quit by organizing smoking intervention programs at office
- Ban smoking in and around workplaces including parks or in canteens to prevent exposure to second-hand smoking
Heart healthy choices at places you playChildren need time and freedom to play. It's not a luxury but a necessity. In today's world, children play virtually, not physically. Cholesterol and fat majorly contribute to heart attacks and other heart diseases. Therefore ensure you add physical activity in your day-to-day lifestyle.
Be on the move
- Motivate yourself to be active.
- Regular brisk 15-mins walk daily can keep you healthy
- Ditch the bikes and walk to your grocery store or shopping mall
- Participate in marathons and cyclathons
- Hit the treadmill while watching T.V
- Do yoga to keep your body flexible