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Put Your Heart Health First This February

Have you ever wondered if your heart is in good health?

There has never been a better time to ask yourself this February as we progress through Heart Research Month, also known as RedFeb. Heart disease is Australia’s leading cause of death affecting families and communities around the country. To put it into context of the scale of the issue of heart disease, 1.2 million Australian’s are affected by heart disease, with 170 suffering heart attacks each day and 50 Australians killed by it every day.

Keeping your heart healthy, whatever your age, is the most important thing you can do to help prevent and manage heart disease. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when it comes to your heart health.

 

Have I had a health test lately?

Knowing your results and numbers is important so you can monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Am I exercising regularly?

Your heart is a muscle, and when you use that muscle by exercising, it will strengthen. In addition, by losing weight, you are reducing the strain on your body, whereby being overweight is a major contributor to heart disease. It is suggested to have a mix of aerobic and resistant training exercise. Aerobic exercise improves circulation which reduces blood pressure and heart rate, while resistance training works to reduce fat and create leaner muscle mass.

Is my diet balanced?

Ensuring you have a well balance diet that is rich in wholegrains, fibre, antioxidants, and unsaturated fats, and low in saturated and trans fats, salt and added sugar can help in reducing the risk of heart disease. This doesn’t mean you can’t have what you enjoy but making better choices here and there will contribute to better heart health. A sweet treat that is good for heart health is dark chocolate, in which the key ingredient cocoa has antioxidants that have been shown to increase good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol and improve your blood clotting function.

Is my mental health in good shape?

Reducing stress is key to good mental health, and therefore good heart health. There are more than 1,400 biochemical responses to stress, including a rise in blood pressure and a faster heart rate. If you find it hard to reduce your stress levels, speak with your GP.

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