World Heart Day: 10 Simple Steps To A Healthy Heart
The heart is at the core of our well-being and it is imperative to take care of it. Amidst a fast-paced life, incessant pressures of work, family responsibilities and increasing health concerns, this World Heart Day, we must pledge to protect our heart.So, while we care for our diet and the lifestyle we lead, let’s not forget to put up a smile on our face and keep stress at bay, because it is really an effortless task to take care of our heart.
This World Heart Day, I speak to Anjali Malhotra, Chief Customer Marketing and Digital Officer, Aviva Life insurance about how one can find time for heart health, even in today’s busy life.
Here are 10 simple and smart ways to prevent heart problems in today’s busy life:
- Exercise Regularly
Just as brisk walking may add up two hours to the life expectancy of some adults, few changes in one’s lifestyle, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking at the farthest end of parking lot and taking a break from the office for a short walk during lunch-break, will not only help in keeping one’s body in shape, but will also inculcate a habit of healthy living. In addition, yoga also helps in preventing heart problems.
2. Healthy Diet
Eating right and healthy is the key to a healthy life and a healthy heart. Therefore, ensure the intake of green and leafy vegetables, exclude sugar and aerated drinks from your diet, and replace sweetened beverages with water, as much as possible. Bring down the intake of processed foods and refined flour for a healthy heart.
Too much sodium can also cause excess fluid in the body, which puts an extra strain on your heart. Therefore, it is best to adapt to variety of spices, herbs and flavourings that provide an alternative to salt. Also excluding red meats from the diet in order to avoid bad cholesterol and minimising the intake of oil and sugar further helps in reducing the risk of heart problems.
3. Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy heart. Lack of sleep may result in a risk of cardiovascular disease irrespective of the age or other health habits. A study looking at adults over the age of 45, found that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to be at the risk of cardiovascular disease as compared to people who slept six to eight hours per night. Researchers believe sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation.
4. Body Weight
Excess body weight is dangerous for the heart. Keep an eye on your weight, as it elevates chances of getting high cholesterol levels, which may lead to diabetes, risk of artery disease, and blood pressure. Also keep a check on BMI (Body Mass Index) and maintain it at optimal levels.
5. Drink A Lot Of Water
By drinking 8 glasses of water a day, you can reduce the risk of a fatal heart disease by almost 54 per cent. Researchers say, water dilutes the blood, making it less likely to clot. So, start drinking water!
6. Keep A Check On Smoking And Alcohol Consumption
People who smoke and consume alcohol are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. These habits are known to elevate blood pressure, causing irregular heartbeat and strokes. Not only that, it leads to overall disruption in the normal functioning of the heart. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid smoking or consumption of alcohol; consume them in moderation and then gradually phase them out. It may be difficult to follow this, but it’s worth the effort.
7. Don’t Sit For Too Long, At A Stretch
Staying seated for long duration is bad for your health, no matter how much exercise you do. This mainly concerns people with desk jobs. A research suggests that those who sit most of the time, are at a risk of heart disease. In addition, sitting for long duration (especially when travelling) increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot).
8. Check Stress Levels
Various studies have established that stress is one of the biggest triggers of heart problems. So try and keep stress at bay. Look for activities other than work, which help keep stress levels in check. Get involved in a hobby or a positive conversation with people, listen to music or read a good book or meditate. These techniques help to reduce stress and to develop a positive outlook towards work and life.
9. Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Dental health is a good indication of overall health, including your heart health, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease are often at a risk of heart disease. Studies show that bacteria in the mouth, the reason behind the development of gum disease, can move into the bloodstream and cause an inflammation in the blood vessels. These changes may in turn, increase the risk of heart disease.
10. Get The Insurance In Place
Financial planning is an important part of healthcare. Prevention is always better than cure. So, it is best to take necessary measures. Make time and get a comprehensive health insurance plan for yourself that will cover heart illness and other cardiovascular diseases too. Aviva Heart Care will equip you with the finances to get the best treatment for all kinds of heart conditions. It covers 19 heart conditions/procedures, from minor ones like angioplasty to major procedures like bypass surgery. Calculate your heart age vis-a-vis your actual age and find out how you score!
So it’s time to be proactive and take the right steps this World Heart Day. Take the pledge to keep your heart healthy and create a healthy environment around you. So, what are you waiting for? Be smart and plan better for your future.
In association with Aviva Heart Care (https://www.avivaindia.com/aviva-heart-care).
Aviva Heart Care is India’s only plan dedicated to the heart that covers both the spouses and protects against 19 heart conditions. It also offers a fixed payout irrespective of the cost of treatment and gives you multiple claims under one policy.