Everyone knows that a healthy diet and active lifestyle are imperative for heart health. People who eat lean meats and a lot of fruits and vegetables have lower cholesterol levels than people who eat a lot of processed, fatty foods. People who go for a walk, run, or bicycle ride after work have lower resting heart rates than people who come home and turn on the TV. Everyone wants to look and feel their best. It’s just not possible to do that if you maintain a diet heavy in processed foods, saturated fats, and sodium, especially if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.
A lot of athletes and people who work very active jobs can get away with eating less healthy foods. Their bodies, because they are constantly in motion, burn calories at a higher rate. Also, because they consume a lot of water and are very active, they actually need more sodium in their diets to retain some of that water for hydration. In fact, endurance athletes may take sports drinks during long workouts so that they can maintain their hydration. This is why they drink electrolyte-heavy sports drinks in addition to water.
And there’s the danger of marketing. As you sit on your couch, watching your favorite show, a commercial cuts in. Lithe-bodied athletes guzzle down sports drinks. The voiceover tells you something about electrolytes, reduced calories, or sugar, and it sounds healthy. The thing is, that drink may or may not be healthy for someone who’s just run a half-marathon or ridden a hundred miles on a bicycle. For someone sitting on the couch, that drink could be a heart bomb waiting to happen.
If your job keeps you fairly sedentary, you should consider getting some light exercise in before or after you go into work every day. Before that, though, you should consider your diet. High cholesterol leads to brittle, clogged arteries. Your heart has to work a lot harder to pump blood to the rest of your body if your arteries are clogged like that. If you switch your diet to a low-sodium, low cholesterol diet, you’ll find that you start feeling more energetic and healthier almost immediately.
As you eat heart healthy foods and drink more water, you’ll find that your resting heart rate decreases. The reason for this is, as your arteries unclog, more blood can get to your heart, and it does not have to work so hard to pump that blood out to the rest of your body.
Exercise For Heart Health
This improvement, in and of itself, is huge for your heart health, but it’s not enough. If you have been sedentary for a long time, you’ve most likely gained some excess weight. If you continue to carry around excess fat, your heart will still be working overtime, just to help you walk or climb stairs. If you take on a regular exercise regimen, you’ll start to lose the weight. Your resting heart rate will decrease even more, and your blood pressure will drop. You’ll find you have even more energy to get you through your day.
Now, all of this sounds really simple and easy, but if it was that easy, Australia would not have the obesity problem it has today. No one wants to be unhealthy, but it’s just so much easier. How can you break the cycle? See a nutritionist about your diet. Talk to your doctor about how to change your lifestyle slowly and steadily so that your new exercise routine will stick. Buddy up with a friend and make fitness goals together. There’s strength in numbers, after all. If you do these things, you’ll find that you gain a lot of health and enjoyment from life. You won’t even miss the couch.
A healthy diet and nutrition are an important part of your wellbeing. Our dietitians and nutritionists are here to educate you and your family about healthy ways of living by helping you to reduce or maintain a healthy weight, control cholesterol levels and strategies for having a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. We also provide advice for food intolerances and allergies, Coeliac disease, diabetes and fussy eating (Paediatrics).
We see children and adults for advice with all areas of nutrition. For results focused nutritional advice Contact us today!