DIY Heart Surgery
Adopt these healthy habits to safeguard your circulation.
Make A Stand
Research shows that sitting down for more than six hours a day (hello, desk jockeys) is bad for your heart. The very act of sitting causes subtle changes in your body chemistry, increasing triglyceride and cholesterol levels in your blood. The simple rule is, if you can do it standing up, then you should – that’s everything from talking on the phone to the morning commute, and even drinks at the bar.
Exercise More, Not Just Harder
If you’re working out purely to improve your heart health, it’s better to increase frequency not your intensity. Exercise has a ‘repeated acute effect’ on the heart, meaning the benefits come faster the more you do it. One interval session is great, but not if it will take you three days before your legs feel capable of round two. That’s not to say you should neglect rest days altogether – the heart, like any engine, will grind down if it’s overworked.
Have A Meat-Free Monday
It’s only one day, and by cutting meat entirely you’ll lower your weekly intake of saturated fat by 15%. A review of 48 studies found that cutting sat-fat reduces your heart-attack risk by 14%. Just don’t replace the meat with extra potato. Excess carbs reduce the elasticity of your arteries. See meatlessmonday.com for recipes.
Find A Sanctuary
We all need one – whether it’s in the shed at the bottom of the garden, under the bonnet of your car or at the tee with 18 holes ahead of you. Contrary to popular belief, stress alone doesn’t cause heart problems. But your response to it might, if that is to drink, smoke or overeat. Having an activity that you know relaxes you helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
Increase Your Social Capital
Being more active in your family, club or group of friends acts as a dampener for heart disease risk factors. Research by Harvard University shows that having more social ties reduces your risk of heart disease by up to 53%. Now, where are you watching the game this weekend?
Photography by Owen Silverwood. Additional artwork by Patrick George
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