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Updated: Feb 16
February is National Heart Month - keep reading for some tips on how to improve your heart health.
You can improve your heart health at any age, even if you already have a heart problem. Keeping your heart healthy is important throughout your life. There are lots of ways you can make changes in your everyday life that will have a big impact on your heart health.
And don’t feel that you have to change your entire diet overnight. You can make small changes, like aiming to eat all of your five a day of fruit and veg.
Cut down on alcohol It is also important to avoid drinking too much alcohol or binge drinking. Drinking too much can increase the risk of arrhythmias and high blood pressure. And it can also damage the heart muscle. Try to cut down on your alcohol intake. You could even challenge a friend to drink less alcohol with you.
Keep active Your heart is a muscle, and it needs exercise. Physical activity helps to keep your heart healthy. If you’re coping with cancer or the side effects of treatment, you could try some small changes. You could go for a walk, no matter how short. You could try to cycle or walk to an appointment or to work. Even hobbies like gardening or dancing are good ways of staying active.
Take care of your stress levels If you or someone close to you is living with cancer, it can be stressful. Stress can raise your blood pressure and put more strain on your heart. There are lots of ways to deal with stress. You could try talking about it with someone close to you. Or you could do something you find relaxing, like a hobby or meeting a friend. Sometimes, doing something active can help with stress. You could go for a swim, or do some yoga, which are both good at relieving stress. And, that way, you’re multitasking on both the physical activity and the stress side of things!
Stop smoking After you stop smoking, your risk of developing coronary heart disease or having a heart attack dramatically reduces. Giving up smoking isn’t easy, but your family and friends can help. Maybe you could work towards it with a friend.