Stress, a poor diet, too little exercise: the causes of cardiovascular disease are many. But it’s never too late to adapt your lifestyle. Here’s how.
There are of course things over which we have no influence: age, gender or family predispositions for example. For the rest, it is entirely in our power to preserve our heart and thus prevent cardiovascular disorders. You just have to get started.
Moving a little more from day to day will already have a positive impact on the health of our heart. Exercise helps keep blood pressure and cholesterol out of the red zone and thus reduces cardiovascular risk. Wendy Stranges, of the Swiss Heart Foundation, therefore advises to start by moving more, for example by getting off the bus two or three stops before arriving at your destination to do the rest on foot. “No need to aim for the marathons,” she says. “We can start with small daily changes, that’s already a lot. “
Changing your habits should be fun
The same goes for food. You have to eat balanced, that’s for sure. But this change should not be a way of the cross. Everyone must find what suits them. You may prefer to give up the recommended amount of fish to eat more nuts and use more rapeseed or olive oil in the preparations. These foods also contain valuable fats. “You can only go the distance if you find satisfaction in change,” adds Wendy Stranges.
Try our tips. And don’t be upset if you can’t apply them all. It will only cause you stress and it is not good for the heart.
Nutrition: eat what you want
Greasy and industrially prepared foods are bad for your health. Eat more Mediterranean and apply the following tips.
1. Fruits and Vegetables
Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables, raw and cooked, and of different colors daily. This will give you the right dose of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Eat vegetarian two days a week.
2. Cereals and potatoes
Eat grain products every day, whether it’s wholemeal bread, whole wheat pasta or unsweetened flakes, or potatoes.
3. Nuts and seeds
Eat a small handful of nuts and seeds daily, unsalted of course. They will provide you, among other things, with valuable fats and dietary fibers.
4. Fatty acids from vegetable oils
Use one to two tablespoons of vegetable oil every day, about half of which is rapeseed oil. Olive oil can be used for cooking hot and cold.
5. Less meat
No need to eat meat every day. And when you consume it, choose lean pieces.
6. Fish from time to time
Salmon and other high-fat fish protect the heart. So consider eating fish once or twice in a week. Opt for fish from sustainable fishing (Bio label for farmed fish, MSC for wild fish).
7. Water and infusions
Drink 1.5 litres of unsweetened drinks every day, such as mineral or tap water or fruit and herbal infusions. A glass of red wine to accompany the meal is beneficial. The polyphenols it contains have a protective action on the vessels. However, avoid drinking alcohol every day to reduce the risk of addiction.
8. 30 minutes physical activities per day
Speed up your pulse and breathing. Be active every day for at least 30 minutes, or 2.5 hours per week with medium intensity. And make physical activity part of your daily life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. A short walk a day is already enough to strengthen the heart muscle.
Physical activity: dancing also contributes to good circulation.
Sport improves circulation and prevents cardiovascular disease. In addition, the body eliminates stress hormones when we move.
Dancing, gardening and housework also contribute to good blood circulation. 30 minutes of gardening is easily worth 30 minutes of cycling.
10. Hiking, Swimming and Biking
Our heart is a muscle. Regular endurance training strengthens it and increases its performance. Hiking, swimming and biking are healthy endurance sports. If you can still speak effortlessly, maintain this pace.
Dumbbells and power training in general increase the oxygen uptake of the body and the blood supply to the muscles. In addition, training stimulates the metabolism. It has a positive effect on the blood sugar.
12. Keep moving
Do dance, tai chi, yoga or gymnastics, you will simultaneously improve your balance, motor skills and muscle strength. These forms of training which allow the exercise of different skills are highly recommended.
13. Get some fresh air
The walks in the forest are a great good. Studies show that stays in the forest reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
Mindfulness: philosophising and relaxing
A little fuss or a rush of adrenaline every now and then is not enough to make our hearts sick. In contrast, chronic stress is damaging. The body indeed needs to relax.
14. Get enough sleep
An adult should ideally get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep actually promotes hypertension. Hypertension is one of the main cardiovascular risk factors.
15. Solve your problems
Reduce stress by addressing your relationship issues. Sometimes it takes courage, but this will keep you healthy.
16. Spending time with friends
Seek balance. Cardiovascular disease can be linked to psychological stress. Friends and family can help you disconnect.
17. Relaxation Techniques
Meditation and breathing exercises help with stress. But you can also relax by listening to music or moving around. Do what gives you pleasure.
18. Philosophy and meditation
What is the real meaning of life? Ask yourself if you are happy with your current life. Ideologies, beliefs and values greatly influence our health.
19. Do activities for Two
Make time for yourself and your partner. Get out. Take an excursion. Or try something new. Maybe a dance class?
20. Manage the smartphone
Put away your laptop or tablet when you come home from work in the evening. Leave your device at home when you go on weekends and avoid reading your work emails on vacation.