Statistically, your heart is the most likely thing to kill you. Unfortunately it’s the single biggest preventable killer of Australians. But if you give it some attention, you can rapidly change from risking an early death to extending your time here on earth. You won’t just live longer – your whole life will be better. Worth it!
Here’s the 5 most important things you can do to improve your heart health
1. Understand it’s in your control
The health of your heart is largely based on lifestyle. And lifestyle is simply the sum of your day to day choices. Which means your heart health is in your control. Maybe there are some things you feel you can’t change, or can’t change in the short term, but there are plenty of things you can do to have a big long term impact.
2. Start with small changes
Look for opportunities to make small changes in your daily routine. Small decisions made daily but repeated, compound to build robust heart health. Heart health is about building habits that are sustainable over the decades.
3. Stay on the beaten track
The Australian Heart Foundation has publicly-accessible guidelines for exercise and diet that have been developed from the results of large local and international studies. They are clear, simple and evidence-based. If you want help to quit smoking, here are some motivations from people who have quit already.
4. Fitness for all sizes
Heart fitness and health are achievable for people of any shape and size. While being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease, it does not exclude people from achieving the physical activity recommendations. Anybody can try exercises such as walking, cycling and swimming. Plus, if you get more active, you’ll find it has a flow-on effect, benefiting your eating as well.
5. Shift the stress
Anxiety and stress are well-known as contributors to heart disease. But these can be decreased with exercise. Exercise improves your heart health by improving your mental health. The physical stress of exercise decreases mental stress levels. Try enjoyable activities to shift the stress from mental to physical, and turn that frown upside down.