Get Ahead Of The Game
With the Premier League kicking off soon, it’s a perfect time to put your heart into football and become healthier. Be inspired by those who train hard to get to the top and be the best you can be with our healthy tips:
GET THOSE FEET MOVING
Bring out the Harry Kane in you and get playing. Get yourself a football and do some kick-ups and penalty shootouts in the garden or park. Make your own goalposts from sticks, piles of clothes, dustbins or whatever you have and just get out there and move. Or if you fancy more of a challenge, check out your local football club for coaching and sessions to suit all abilities, where you can hone your ball skills and get fitter this summer.
GIVE UNHEALTHY HABITS THE RED CARD
During tense extra time and penalties, grab a small handful of unsalted nuts or other healthy options rather than crisps and chocolates.
Pace yourself with lower strength beers and wines or change to smaller bottles and alternate with soft drinks. Getting too tense? Try some flutter kicks or squat jumps.
KNOW YOUR STATS
You might know the score but do you know how you measure up on heart health? A good way to check is to dig out the measuring tape and check your waistline.
Many people think their waist is their jeans size, but actually it isn’t. To get it right, have a feel and find your hip bone and your bottom rib, breath out and measure half way between the two. The ideal measurement is below 37 inches (94 cm) for men.
GET DOWN TO GRASS ROOTS
Are you one of those people who when asked if they are active, say ‘’I used to play football’’ or ‘’I’d like to”? What’s stopping you now? It’s never too late.
So don’t let the new season pass you by without making heart health your personal goal. Go for glory and become a healthier, happier and fitter you.
Contact the Health Hearts team if you’d like to make your own Healthy Heart pledge or find out about starting a community project with help from our Heart research UK and Subway® Healthy Heart Grants.
−−− BY DR HELEN FLAHERTY, HEAD OF HEALTH PROMOTION
AT HEART RESEARCH UK −−−
In the UK around 6.9 million people over the age of 18 smoke. Although rates of smoking have decreased in recent years, the number of people who smoke remains high. Smoking harms almost all organs in the body and it is the leading cause of preventable deaths in England. Smoking can damage your blood vessels and heart, which increases your risk of having a heart attack.
Quitting smoking can be very difficult, but it is an important step for reducing your risk of heart disease. We provide some tips for stopping smoking below.
LIST YOUR REASONS FOR STOPPING SMOKING
If you are trying to quit smoking, an effective and simple thing you can do to stay on track is to write a list of the reasons why you wish to quit smoking. Whenever you feel the urge to smoke, you can read this list and it should inspire you to keep going.
DECIDE A TIME
As soon as you stop smoking, your risk of heart disease will reduce. The sooner you decide to quit the better. Try to choose a date within the next two weeks. If you leave it too long, you will give yourself time to change your mind.
MAKE A PLAN FOR WHEN YOU QUIT
Make a plan to quit smoking and ask your friends, family and co-workers for their support. Identify the triggers that make you feel like smoking and work out how to deal with them in advance. For example, if you hang around with other people who smoke, you could plan to spend more time with non-smokers or do smoke-free activities with friends who are smokers.
If you usually smoke during your break at work, plan to go for a walk instead. Dealing with cigarette withdrawal can be tough and it can lead to you feeling emotional and upset. Before quitting, ask people to be patient and understanding and remind yourself that these feelings are temporary.
DISTRACT YOURSELF WHEN YOU GET CRAVINGS
Cigarette cravings are intense urges to smoke. Quitting smoking requires a huge amount of willpower. Cigarette cravings are temporary and they can last for 5 minutes. To avoid giving in to cigarette cravings, try to distract yourself for 5-10 minutes. You could try doing some physical activity or a bit of housework, do a bit of colouring in or planning a healthy dinner. Once the craving has passed, you can give yourself a pat on the back.
You could also consider using a stop smoking aid, such as nicotine patches, gums, lozenges or nasal sprays to help stop the cravings.
GET SUPPORT TO STOP SMOKING
There is a lot of support available for people who want to stop smoking. Getting support with stopping smoking can increase your chances of success. You could try contacting your local Stop Smoking Services or chatting to your GP. If you know someone who is also trying to quit smoking, you could offer to support each other. You could also seek advice from a friend or family member who has successfully stopped smoking.
You can get further support with stopping smoking and a free Personal Quit Plan from the NHS: www.nhs.uk/smokefree.
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