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How To Be Good To Your Heart

By Anne Garner

As we get older, many of us feel more and more comfortable to carry around a bit more weight. We tend to drive more and walk less, and a few of us even give up sport altogether. We don't get involved in drunken week-end binges like the teenagers do, but we indulge in social drinking: a glass of wine here, another one with our business lunch, yet another one to relax after a hard day, and so on. Pretty soon, all of these glasses - plus our exercise neglect - add up, making our heart a lot less healthy than it used to be. Here are 4 simply ways that we all can implement in order to be good to our hearts.

Tackle your weight

Heart disease is a leading cause of death, not only for men, but also for women. An expanding waistline is something that can creep up on us, oh so gradually.  Check your waist and your BMI.  Men with waists over 40 inches, and women with waists over 35 inches are at higher risks of heart disease.  

For BMI categories:
20 - 25 - Normal
25 - 30 - Overweight
30+       - Obese

Here is how to find your BMI.
1. Find your weight in kg.
2. Find your height in metres and square it.
3. Divide your weight by your height in meter squared.

If you fall into the overweight category, it's time to start working on slimming down that waist line.

Avoid toxins

Many people think that the biggest danger from smoking is lung cancer. This is not true.  The largest proportion of deaths related to smoking is actually due to heart disease. Pollutants in the environments can't be avoided in many cases, but we can certainly take care of the level of bad fats and sugars that we put into our bodies.  Don't leave your windows closed all winter long, especially if you live in a newer, energy-efficient house, where the windows and doors are so tight, that you get no fresh air at all circulating around the house.  

How To Be Good To Your Heart

Even if you open them just a tiny crack, that's enough for you and your family to benefit from some fresh air.  If you can, take garlic supplements, they're good for fighting infections and releasing toxins.  Keep indoor plants like Spider Plant, Peace Lily and Lady Palm.  They're useful for improving the quality of the air in our homes.

Exercise

This can't be stressed enough.  You don't have to go to the gym to get exercise.  Walk the dog, park a long way from the door and walk to the store.  Take the stairs, go for a jog in the nearby park.  Remember, if you've been inactive for a long time, you'd need to see your doctor before you embark on a new exercise routine.  

Whatever you do, do not over do it, especially if you're just starting out. If you're walking at night, make sure that you have suitable reflective clothing.  Drink lots of water, stretch before you start your exercise, and gradually cool down at the end of it.  

React differently to stress

Stress affects everyone, but it's our reaction to stress that makes the difference between breaking down, or having the urge to push forward. Embrace the good things that you've been given in life and aim to think of one thing that makes you smile every time you feel the pessimism coming on. Have fun, spend time with friends and have a laugh.  You won't regret not finishing the filing at work if you were struck down with a stroke.   Perhaps take up yoga or Pilates if you can, walk the dog or sit on a bench by a stream. Which ever way you choose, find your own 'safe place' and make time to relax.

Eat right  

Fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, fish, and lean meats, all work for us to protect our hearts against the destructive radicals that exist within our bodies. Make sure that you're eating the right size portion, because this can affect the amount of calories you take in, thus the size of your waist.

The right portion                    What it looks like
Vegetables and fruitno limit, (at least 5 portions)
Rice/ pasta/potatoesa loose handful
Meat/fishyour palm held straight out
Nuts and dried fruita cupped handful
Beansa cupped handful
Buns/rollsa fist  

Other foods like cheeses, cakes, crisps etc., are to be had in very small portions. Make sure that you have plenty of water and a good breakfast each day.  

We ought to take a little time each day to be good to our hearts. After all, it's that rhythm in our chest which is keeping us alive.  Paying keen attention to these four details can be the difference between a heart that's steadily failing, or one that's working at its full potential for you.

About the Author

Anne Lyken-Garner is a contributing writer for Fabulously40 Youth Project Worker, Writer, Television Support Actress, Occasional model

Visit Anne's blogspot for more of her work.






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