Why we should all be caring more for our hearts

Published: Friday 29th September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Today is World Heart Day. We spoke to Active Humber to find out how we can take better care of one of our most important organs.

The heart plays a vital role in the running of your body. The British Heart Foundation has said that keeping the muscle healthy is crucial in order to prevent and manage heart disease.

“We work with partners, local authorities, health organisations and the voluntary sector to find ways to reduce the levels of physical inactivity across the region and maximise the benefits of sports and activity,” Gary Sainty, Head of Operations at Active Humber, tells us.

“There are 11.3 million inactive people in the country, and we’re working hard to lower this figure.”

One of the ways that you can improve the health of your heart is regular exercise:

“The heart is a muscle, and like any other muscle, you’ve got to train it to keep it active and healthy,” Gary explains. “You can’t just expect to go from doing no physical activity to running 10K overnight; you’ve got to slowly build it up. Perhaps start by doing ten minutes of jogging, then steadily increase this.”

According to the NHS, to stay healthy adults aged 19-74 should try to be active daily and complete at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week. This could include anything from brisk walking, cycling and pushing a lawnmower, to taking up a sport, such as tennis or water aerobics.

“It’s anything that raises your heart rate; this could be as simple as walking to the shops instead of driving. It’s all about getting moving and keeping active.”

Other tips that Gary suggests are taking the stairs rather than the lift, getting off the bus a stop or two early and, if you need to drive, parking a little further away from your destination so that you still get to walk a little of the way.

“An emphasis on being more efficient has developed over the past few years. An attitude of ‘it’ll be quicker if we go in the car’ has emerged. But taking the time to walk or cycle could mean that you avoid illnesses in later life.”

On top of this, the NHS states that quitting smoking is the ‘single best thing you can do for your heart health’. Smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease and if you give up the cigs, your risk of a heart attack halves. Smokefree Hull offers an array of free resources and support if you are keen to kick the habit.

Meanwhile, if you want to discover a new sport, the Active Humber website has a directory full of local activities and groups.

“There’s a sport for everyone out there and there are so many clubs and events to be found on our website,” Gary maintains.

To find out more about keeping your heart healthy, please visit the NHS website, where you can take a short test to see how healthy your heart is.

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Published: Friday 29th September 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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