We all know that ‘Health is Wealth’!
But how many times do we behave irresponsibly towards this immeasurable treasure of ours?
We all are guilty of postponing our exercising plans at some point in time or of giving into temptations of tasty food over the healthier options, conveniently forgetting our resolutions for healthy lifestyle.
It is our duty to keep our body health as only a healthy body can have a healthy mind.
And the epicenter of our overall health is our heart. This good old ticker of ours bears a big responsibility to keep our body in mint condition and functioning well.
So what should be our strategy to keep it in optimum health?
NO need to worry guys! nothing of mammoth proportions needs to be done to plan your cardiac care strategy. This job can be achieved through small steps taken on a regular basis-#chotte chotte kadam. Just follow a healthy lifestyle in a disciplined manner regularly to keep your heart fit and strong.
Here are some simple tips that can help you in improving your lifestyle:
1.Say goodbye to smoking or chewing tobacco:
These are major risk factors when it comes to heart disease. Smoking exponentially increases the chances of suffering from heart disease. It is harmful for lungs, heart, causes cancer and many vascular diseases. Be careful about passive smoking as well. Never fall prey to it. So, bid it a hasty adieu right away!
2.Follow a balanced and a healthy diet plan:
Consume foods that are packed with optimum nutritional value like whole grain cereals, legumes, fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. Fresh fruits are rich in antioxidants.
Also Keep a close watch on the total calorie intake. To regulate calories, one can reorient the dietary pattern by cutting down on carbohydrates and increasing proteins. High carbohydrate diet with lots of rice and products like white flour, starch results in extra calories, leading to obesity, which can cause diabetes and extra calories get deposited in the body as fat.
Go for carbs that have low glycemic index. Diabetes and hypertension are major enemies of the heart. You can do yourself a world of good by reducing the intake of fried foods and sweets. Fat can be taken in moderation and try to curb your sweet tooth. Avoid egg and red meats. Egg yolks have been proven to have high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Chicken, fish and white of eggs are safe. Try to include lots of salads in daily life.
Choose healthy cooking oils that contain monounsaturated polyunsaturated fats that prevent cancer and heart diseases. The polyunsaturated fats reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Aim for a balanced diet that contains 30% carbs, 20% fats, 30% proteins, vitamins etc.
3.Reduce salt and sugar intake:
Keep the salt consumption to about 5 gm per day. One does not need to completely avoid salt. Even if one is hypertensive, 3-5 gm of salt daily should be fine. Keeping a check on salt helps to control BP and reduce the load on heart. Avoid adding extra salt in your food. Eat pickles and papads in moderation.
Do you know even sugar has an effect on blood pressure?
According to a 2014 study, sugar is also responsible for high blood pressure and heart disease. Most often, doctors recommend a low salt diet to control blood pressure, but they forget to mention sugar. But, latest research suggests that it is prudent to reduce sugar consumption as well to regulate blood pressure.
Human body has been designed in such a way that it needs constant exercise to keep it in top condition and optimum level of functioning.
So, light exercise every day, all days should be included in the daily routine. Be active and stay fit. Walk as much as possible, join a gym or a yoga class.
“Whatever people eat, they should keep a close watch on their calorie intake. Keeping one’s weight under control and exercising every day will definitely help in keeping the heart healthy. These days, many youngsters are getting heart diseases and it’s important for the 20-30 age group to keep a close watch on their weight and play some games regularly.”
~ Dr I. Sathyamurthy (Senior cardiologist, Apollo hospitals)
We totally know and understand this, but given our fast-paced lives, there is common complaint of lack of time for exercise.
Don’t worry, there is a solution for this malady too!
Manage it by including constant action in your daily routine without allotting too much separate time to exercise through these easy tricks:
a) Move around a lot: Ditch the lift, take the steps. This helps your body stay active and help your metabolism.
b) Walk more: Park your car away and walk to your destination to give your legs a workout.
c) Do spot jogging: This is a good trick to exercise in office or home, while you’re busy in some other task
d) Lift weights: No, not the big ones, but you can easily lift small weights while you are talking on phone or watching TV
e)Join group activity: like zumba, yoga or tai chi to keep you motivated and self driven to exercise regularly.
f) Do more outdoor activities: like gardening, playing with kids or taking a brisk walk in the park.
There is always a way to exercise if you have the will to do it. So, exercise and fitness are a lot about attitude!
5. Let go of stress:
In today’s world, we almost always find ourselves living in stress. It has become an inevitable part of our life.
But, beware as it can have a negative impact on our heart!
According to certain health studies, there is a strong connection between stress and heart diseases. How exactly this occurs is not yet established. Is stress an independent risk factor or whether it affects other risk factors is not completely known.
Senior cardiologist Dr. Tilak Surarma says, “Studies have shown that long term stress results in a higher incidence of leading an unhealthy lifestyle. Many people with long term work related stress end up exercising lesser, follow an unhealthy diet, smoke and drink alcohol, which leads to obesity.” This in turn, increases chances of having hypertension, diabetes mellitus and high cholesterol.
So, stress makes one prone to have risk factors for coronary heart disease. Apart from this, chronic stress exposes one’s body to unhealthy elevated levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which can be detrimental for the heart.
Many people smoke a lot when in extreme stress conditions or consume a lot of alcohol. Both of these are major risk factors for heart ailments. Excess alcohol consumption can lead to cardiomyopathy, a condition in which heart muscles get weakened.
To reduce the harmful effects of stress on one’s heart, one can follow these easy tips-
a) Practice Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama:
Yoga is a good form of exercise and it can also be useful to combat stress. Meditation can calm you down. Practice it regularly for 15-20 minutes daily. Deep breathing exercises like pranayama help in controlling stress.
b)Maintain a Positive Attitude:
Everyone goes through stress, but each one of us handles it in different ways.
Let go of bad experiences and avoid anger, guilt, fear, hostility, anxiety. Face life’s challenges with a smile.
Learn to FORGIVE AND FORGET easily to maintain your inner peace and tranquility !
Unforgiveness and holding onto anger and resentment kills your calm and harms you manifold. It is like a parasite which you hold on to and that keeps gnawing at your own health.
c)Listen to your favorite music:
This helps in mental relaxation and helps decrease stress.
d)Take adequate sleep:
Early to bed and early to rise is the best option.
e)Take periodic breaks:
Go for vacations with friends and family. Enjoyment increases your happiness quotient and decreases stress.
6. Get Regular Checkups:
It is mandatory to monitor your blood pressure, sugar level, cholesterol, Triglyceride, and lipid profile on a regular basis. If there are warning signs, don’t ignore them and seek medical advice.
It is important to note that diabetic patients may have advanced heart disease and not show any symptom at all.
Warning signs can be:
- Chest pain
- Breathlessness with even minimum activity
- Cold sweat
You can reap great benefits towards good overall health by following these #chhote kadam(small steps).
Persistence is the main key here.
So, Be Active , Eat Better and Stay Happy to keep your heart healthy and enjoy a blessed life!