Three ways to strengthen your heart

by By Latashni Gobi Nathan (latagn@sph.com.sg)
published on 30 June 2016

Taking care of your heart is very important as it is constantly working to pump blood throughout your body.

You do not have to go out of the way to do good things for your heart. Follow some of these simple steps and work your way to having a healthier heart.

1. Watching your intake

While you may not be able to completely cut out certain types of food, it is always good to take everything in moderation.

Dr Julian Tan, an interventional cardiologist from Mount Elizabeth Hospital, said: “All kinds of food, including those rich in saturated fat and carbohydrates, are essential for our body functions and well-being. Excess intake of any one kind of food may lead to serious heart diseases.”

Keep track of your calorie intake and choose food from each food group to have daily.

2. Lead an active lifestyle

You need not exercise everyday or for long periods but it is best to get your heart pumping above its resting rate for approximately 30 mins every two days.

Dr Kenneth Guo, a cardiologist in the Asian Heart and Vascular Centre at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, said: “If you do not exercise regularly, consider a gradual build-up of low impact exercises, such as walking. Start by doing it once a week and increase it to five times a week over two to three months. Aim to walk 30 mins each time. Research has shown that walking at least 30 mins each day may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, blood pressure, blood sugar and lipid profile, and the risk of osteoporosis.”

3. Managing stress

Stress can cause people to form habits, like overeating and smoking that are detrimental to the body and may increase heart disease risk.

Dr Guo said: “I recommend dealing with stress in four ways – positive self-talk, emergency stress stoppers, doing a pleasurable activity and a relaxing activity. Some examples include counting from one to 10, having a meal with friends and having some personal time.”

This article provides general information only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult medical or healthcare professionals for advice on health-related matters.