Easy Ways To Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

Reducing risk:-
Becoming more active and improving your diet can make a tremendous difference to your heart. Taking more exercise helps reduce blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels and boosts metabolism – all of which can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease.

Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, making lifestyle changes can help you live a longer, healthier and more enjoyable life.

Adopting a healthier lifestyle is not about denying yourself the things you enjoy, making vast changes such as joining a gym, becoming a vegetarian or eating nothing but ‘health foods’. Small, easily achievable adaptations such as becoming more active in your everyday life and learning to enjoy fresh, wholesome food can make a tremendous difference to your wellbeing and improve the health of your heart.

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Being active:-

Being active is absolutely essential for a healthy heart – for the simple reason that your heart is a muscle. Even if you haven’t been active for some time, your heart can become stronger, so that it is able to pump more efficiently giving you more stamina and greater energy.

Becoming more active will also improve the ability of your body’s tissues to extract oxygen from your blood, help you maintain healthy levels of blood fats and speed your metabolism.

Three types of exercise are needed in order to become fitter and healthier. These are aerobic, resistance training and flexibility. All three are vital for all-round fitness.

Aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise:-

Particularly important to prevent coronary heart disease is aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. This is any kind of activity that increases your breathing rate and gets you breathing more deeply. These activities include: walking, running, swimming, dancing or any of the aerobic (cardiovascular) machines at the gym such as the rowing machine, treadmill, stepper or elliptical trainer.

These are designed to increase the strength of your heart muscle by improving your body’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood and transport it to the rest of the body. Aerobic exercise also enhances your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently and to burn (or metabolise) fats and carbohydrates for energy.
Watch your weight!

If you are overweight, you’re 80 per cent more at risk of heart disease. The best way to control your weight is to eat a healthy diet and take regular exercise.

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Strength (resistance training) exercise:-

Strength exercise (or resistance training) helps to make your muscles stronger, strengthens your bones and protects your joints from the risk of injury (because muscles protect the joints). This type of exercise may involve the use of free weights and weights machines such as those found in the gym – or any kind of activity in which you load your muscles. For example, carrying heavy shopping bags or exercises such as press-ups, lunges and squats, and some of the exercises involved in yoga which use your body weight, are all good for resistance.

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Resistance training does not increase the fitness of your heart like aerobic exercise. What it can do is help control your weight because muscular tissue burns more calories than fat. This type of exercise is not recommended for people with uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart disease; so if you are affected, check with your doctor.

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Stretching:-

Stretching helps relax and lengthen your muscles, encourages improved blood flow, and helps keep you supple so you can move more easily. Experts say it’s good to stretch for 5-10 minutes every day. There are a number of simple stretches which you’ll find in virtually any book about exercise or can be taught by the instructor at the gym.

If you want more organised stretching, yoga and Pilates are safe and gentle for people with heart problems, as they help calm the mind and body and reduce stress. That said, there may still be some exercises or postures that are not recommended if you have heart disease, so check with your doctor first and tell your instructor if you have high blood pressure or heart disease.

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Getting started:-

There’s no need to join a gym or take part in organised sport, unless you want to, of course. Simply incorporating more activity into your daily life and doing activities like walking, gardening, cycling can be just as effective as a structured exercise programme.

Your aim should be to be moderately active for 30 minutes most days of the week. If you find it hard to fit this into your life, split it up into shorter periods. You should feel that your heart rate is increasing, you are breathing more deeply and frequently. You should be able to walk and talk at the same time – if you can’t then the activity is too strenuous.

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Safety first:-

If you experience any or all of the following, stop exercising and consult your doctor.

* chest pain
* dizziness, light-headedness or confusion
* nausea or vomiting
* cramp-like pains in the legs (intermittent claudication)
* pale or bluish skin tone
* breathlessness lasting for more than 10 minutes
* palpitations (rapid or irregular heart beat).
* continued fatigue (lasting for 24 hours or more)
* fluid retention (swollen ankles, sudden weight gain)

Rest and relaxation:-

While exercise can help lower blood pressure and strengthen your heart, rest and relaxation can reduce your levels of anxiety and improve your reactions to stress – both of which can affect the blood vessels and heart.

All of us have to contend with major life events from time to time such as a divorce, bereavement, job loss or financial problems. However, there’s also a wide range of everyday events (being stuck in traffic, a row with your partner or a disagreement with someone at work) that can be stressful – and these everyday irritations may be even more stressful because they are constant.

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Ways to manage stress:-
1. Keep a diary: make a note of stressful situations and how your react to them. This will help you identify what stresses you out, so you can begin to change your reactions.
2. Stay positive: your thoughts control your feelings. If you stop and listen to your emotions, you may be surprised to discover how negative they are. Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones will help you deal with stressful situations more calmly.
3. Learn to relax: pay attention to your posture and consciously relax physically. You may also want to try a technique such as yoga, massage, meditation or other complementary therapies.
4. Get as much sleep as you need: we all need different amounts of sleep and you will know how many you need to feel refreshed. Try to get this amount of sleep most nights.

Sources:http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/conditions/heart/prevention_activity.shtml

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