Heart disease: The habit that can reduce your risk by as much as 35% – and it’s free

Martin Roberts outlines symptoms he had with heart problem

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A key risk factor for heart disease is a lack of exercise. Indeed, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “Being physically inactive or sedentary can lead to heart and circulatory diseases like heart attack and stroke.” The good news is, the charity says being physically active doesn’t mean you need to join a gym or run a marathon. It explains physical activity can include things like housework and gardening.

The BHF warns being inactive can lead to fatty material building up in your arteries.

It explains: “If the arteries that carry blood to your heart get damaged and clogged, it can lead to a heart attack. If this happens in the arteries that carry blood to your brain it can lead to a stroke.”

The charity says being active can reduce your risk of developing some heart and circulatory diseases by as much as 35 percent.

And the benefits don’t stop there, according to the BHF. “Not only does regular activity protect your heart, it can also help your general wellbeing by boosting your mood, improving your concentration and memory, and helping you sleep better.”

The NHS explains: “Exercising regularly reduces your risk of having a heart attack.

“The heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle, benefits from exercise. A strong heart can pump more blood around your body with less effort.

“Any aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming and dancing, makes your heart work harder and keeps it healthy.”

The health body adds: “Regular exercise will make your heart and blood circulatory system more efficient, lower your cholesterol level, and also keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.”

The BHF says: “Aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. This is anything that raises your heart rate, and makes you breathe faster and feel warmer, like brisk walking or cycling.

“You can spread out the 150 minutes over the week. You can even do short bursts of activity – every minute counts.

“You should also aim to do muscle strengthening activities like using hand weights, climbing the stairs, gardening such as digging, or carrying heavy shopping on at least two days a week.“

The NHS also says there are several other ways you can reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD), such as lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The health body states: “If you smoke, giving up will reduce your risk of developing CHD.

“Smoking is a major risk factor for developing atherosclerosis (furring of the arteries). It also causes the majority of cases of coronary thrombosis in people under the age of 50.”

The NHS adds if you drink, do not exceed the maximum recommended limits. This includes the following:

Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
Spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week.

It also says you should always avoid binge drinking, as this increases the risk of a heart attack.

The NHS adds you have a greater chance of developing CHD if you have diabetes.

Nonetheless, being physically active and controlling your weight and blood pressure will help manage your blood sugar level.

“If you have CHD, you may be prescribed medicine to help relieve your symptoms and stop further problems developing,” adds the NHS.

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