According to the World Health Organisation, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s number one killer. However, whilst there are multiple factors that increase your risk of developing CVD, the good news is that many heart and circulatory diseases are caused by risk factors that we can control and modify. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, essentially MOVING MORE, being one of them! So we say….. it is time to make sure better Heart Health is on your radar?
Every year, February is National Heart Month. The British Heart Foundation uses the month to raise awareness of a variety of different heart conditions and diseases including Angina, Heart Failure, Coronary Heart Disease, Arrhythmia and many more.
“There are currently seven million people in the UK living with cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack and stroke. However, in many cases people can reduce their risk of these conditions by improving their diet, doing more physical activity and quitting smoking.” British Heart Foundation
Whilst National Heart Month is a great way to raise awareness of CVD, we think it is vital that we understand and practice techniques to improve our heart health all year round.
It has nearly been a year since many started working remotely at home, meaning we are sitting down much more than we usually do, with no commutes, no lunchtime trips out or walking around the office to chat to colleagues! This in turn means it has been harder for us to maintain our activity levels. Also, our routines and habits have changed; getting back into a “new norm” and new routines is even harder as some of the challenges linked to exercise remain. We want to help to motivate you and convince you just how important physical activity really is!
A recent article by the Society of Occupational Medicine states:
‘Employees step count was down by 50% by not commuting to work/moving around offices & not leaving our houses as much as we might normally do.’
It is even harder for people who are not motivated to engage in exercise, but try to remember at a time like this it is even more important for us all – whatever age and ability to be as active as possible; not only for our physical and heart health, but also our mental health!
If you need a little more convincing: DOWNLOAD OUR Why should you be physically active PDF
“According to research, around 1.4 billion adults are not physically active enough to stay healthy. One in three women and one in four men do not take enough exercise or move about enough. That puts them at greater risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers”. The Lancet
Getting started can be as simple as taking short breaks from sitting; by doing 5 minutes bursts of light intensity physical movement, such as strength training or stretching! This simple boost in your daily activity levels will help ease your muscles, boost metabolism, improve blood circulation and muscle activity. The key word being DAILY! So it’s time to….
When we think about exercise, many of us think about high-impact workouts, visits to the gym, running or fitness classes. However, did you know that one of the simplest and most common things we can do daily, could be the answer to getting us to move more?
According to the NHS (and Becca) walking could be the most underrated form of exercise! It is simple, free and, one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. Therefore why aren’t more of us taking advantage of this free, simple and beneficial activity?
“Walking improves fitness, cardiac health, alleviates depression and fatigue, improves mood, creates less stress on joints and reduces pain, can prevent weight gain, reduce risk for cancer and chronic disease, improve endurance, circulation, and posture, and the list goes on…”Ann Green, M.S
If you need more convincing, DOWNLOAD OUR 10 BRILLIANT BENEFITS OF WALKING MORE PDF
Research shows that it is important to incorporate all types of exercise, including aerobic (or cardiovascular) strength and flexibility. We have talked a little about aerobic activity above, when we discussed walking and the many benefits, so now we want to touch on two other vital areas of exercise or activity, that impact heart health, and are often undervalued & overlooked…
Because strength training increases lean muscle mass, it gives your cardiovascular system places to send the blood being pumped. This results in less pressure on your arteries, which helps reduce the chances of heart-related problems. It also improves your circulation; when your circulation is working well, your body receives the oxygen and nutrients it needs! Strength training also reduces your belly fat, and especially visceral fat found around your organs including your heart. AND, it can also boost weight loss! WIN WIN! Again, less overall weight and less fat reduces your risks linked to CVD.
You stretch to make your body more flexible and less stiff. But did you know it can do the same for your blood vessels? It’s true. New research from the University of Milan in Italy showed that a 12-week stretching regimen improved blood flow, lowered blood pressure, and decreased arterial stiffness. Good blood flow leads to less damage on artery walls and may mean a lower risk for heart attacks and strokes. People with stiff arteries often have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or inflammation. Stretching can also help relaxation and also improve your sleep quality. Another WIN WIN when it comes to your heart health!
So, no excuses. Give it a go. Meet national requirements for all types of activity and boost your heart health too!
Would you like to find more ways to get fit and healthy this year? CLICK HERE to visit our Guide on Getting More Active and Feeling Energised, published last year. It is a powerful read.
If you think your workplace would benefit from finding out more about meeting the Government Guidelines for physical activity, simply contact us now at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our new website.
The Tonic Team are here to help, motivate and inspire you. x
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