Your heart is a muscle and its job is to pump blood around the body. Heart disease affects the structure and functions of the heart and can diminish its ability to do this job. Several risk factors can determine whether you will develop heart disease. Some factors related to your risk of developing heart disease cannot be changed like your age, family history, and gender. However, most types heart disease are preventable and manageable by engaging in healthy lifestyle choices.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices Reduce Heart Disease Risks
There are numerous benefits of incorporating regular physical activity in your life. Activity can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, help to control blood sugars, improve cardiovascular health, and improve overall heart function.
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You should always consult a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program. A physiotherapist, exercise physiologist or kinesiologist can help create an exercise program that is right for you. They can help to assess your current exercise level, help to set achievable SMART goals and develop an exercise routine that works for you. In addition, we can analyze your form on exercises and ensure you are safe when performing them.
Safe activities to incorporate into your daily routine can include:
- Getting off the bus or subway a few stops early and walk
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Parking as far away from the building as possible, as long as it is safe
- Use the washroom on another floor
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A heart healthy diet includes eating lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, choosing healthy protein and limiting processed foods, sugars and salt. Canada’s Food Guide is a good resource for tips on how to make better food choices.
Although most of us know what we should be eating, it can be challenging to maintain good habits. Try some of these tips and try to make them part of your routine:
- Create a weekly meal plan
- Don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach
- Avoid the junk food aisle at the grocery store
- Keep fruit and healthy snacks at eye level and easily accessible
- Use smaller plates for meals
- Eat home-cooked meals instead of eating out
We share some of our favourite healthy recipes in our monthly newsletters.
Here are just a few, starting with photo top-left and going clockwise:
Stress can cause the heart to work harder, blood pressure to rise, and it increases the levels of sugars and fats in the bloodstream. This can then increase the risk of clots forming and cause a heart attack or stroke. We all know that stress is a part of life, but we can take steps to better manage stress.
At Propel Physiotherapy, we understand the mind-body connection. That’s why we take an integrated approach to healthcare, offering services like:
We provide group mindfulness training, as well as one-on-one sessions to help clients foster mindfulness practice in their daily lives. Sessions help provide you with the tools to better manage life’s stressors.
Related story: Mindfulness: Reduce Stress & Chronic Pain
While the linking of the breath and movement will form the core of this practice, participants will draw upon a myriad of techniques – such as conscious breath regulation, meditative practices, and the use of sound – to improve health and well being and increase quality of life. Yoga has been shown to be effective in stress management. At Propel Physiotherapy, we offer one on one and group-based yoga sessions.
Massage therapy is used to improve circulation and range of motion, decrease tone and spasticity, improve soft tissue extensibility, stimulate lymphatic drainage and blood circulation, as well as decrease pain and ease stiffness. Massage can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels, especially for those who are consistently challenged in a high-paced work environment. Take some time to unwind and enjoy a massage therapy session.
Talk to us about making healthier lifestyle choices and how to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
 Chong, Cecilia S M, BS; Tsunaka, Megumi, BS; Tsang, Hector W H, PhD; Chan, Edward P, BA; Cheung, Wai Ming, PhD Effects of Yoga on Stress Management in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review.Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine; Aliso Viejo Vol. 17, Iss. 1, (Jan/Feb 2011): 32-8
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