Happy Heart Health

Sli Sign

Heart health is achieved by making positive changes in your life. It is a ‘win-win situation’ as you will feel healthier and lose weight while looking after your heart. Traditionally in the New Year we make resolutions about health and weight but often our will power runs out and within weeks we slowly slip back to our old ways again.

Maureen Mulville, Health Promotion Manager at the Irish Heart Foundation, in the ARUP building on Ringsend Road advises, “Firstly, you should get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked so you know where you are starting from.” She also recommends that you talk to your family and see if there is a history of heart disease.

STOP SMOKING. I know this is very difficult but it really is critical as smokers are much more likely to have a heart attack or associated heart problems.

GET ACTIVE and a good way to start is by walking. Some people prefer to walk alone, some with friends or some in a walking club. Think about what is most suitable for you and start slowly with a gentle routine, building on this gradually to increase your level of fitness. Look for Sli na Sláinte routes in your area.

WHAT ARE YOU EATING? And how much do you eat? Make sure you are not being overgenerous with your portion sizes. Choose fresh fruit, vegetables and meat and cook your dinners from scratch. Try to eliminate processed and fatty foods where possible and aim to eat fish twice a week. Oily fish is particularly good for heart health. Watch your portion sizes and try not to over indulge during Christmas. Alcohol is fine in moderation, but keep an eye on what you are drinking and try and reduce your intake overall.

MANAGE STRESS. Stress is huge contributing factor in most illnesses. Ensure you get a good night’s sleep and discover new ways to eliminate stress in your life.

Maureen Mulville makes the encouraging point, “Remember, it probably took you ten years to gain four stone, so don’t expect to lose it all in a few months. Make positive changes and you will see slow, steady progress.”
By Joan Mitchell