The Health and Wellbeing Column with Heart Research UK: Get physical to fight heart disease

Here is the latest in a series of Heart Research UK ‘Healthy Heart Tips’ delivered by the charity’ Head of Health Promotion Dr Helen Flaherty.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 12:20 pm
Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Here is the latest in a series of Heart Research UK ‘Healthy Heart Tips’ delivered by the charity’ Head of Health Promotion Dr Helen Flaherty.

There are few simple ways to ease yourself back into exercise which could make a difference to your heart health.

Keeping yourself fit

Dr Helen Flaherty, Head of Health Promotion at Heart Research UK.

Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 35%.

Keeping fit is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, since exercising regularly can have various long-term health benefits on both physical and mental wellbeing.

See the tips below on how to increase your fitness:

Join challenges/schemes

One of the main obstacles to improving fitness can be getting started. By joining challenges, plans, or schemes, it can help create structure to your fitness journey.

Why not check out the NHS 12-week-plan which combines running, strength and flexibility workouts to improve overall fitness.

Work across different intensities

It is recommended that each of us try to do at least 150 minute of ‘moderate’ intensity exercise per week, or 75 minutes of ‘vigorous’ intensity activity.

To improve fitness levels, it is important to work at both high and low intensities.

A good indication of ‘moderate’ activity is being able to talk but not sing during your exercise session. Moderate activities may include brisk walking, dancing, lawn mowing or moderate cycling.

A good indication of working vigorously is the inability to speak more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Vigorous activities include swimming, skipping, running, and sports such as netball, hockey, and football.

Engage in different types of exercise

There are four main types of exercise: aerobic fitness, strength, balance, and flexibility.

Doing some of each creates variation in your day-to-day activities to combat boredom, reduce your risk of injury, and improve your all-round fitness.

Activities that improve muscular strength include using resistance bands, lifting, weights or even heavy gardening tasks such as digging.

You may also incorporate balance exercises through activities such as tai-chi, and racquet sports such as tennis and badminton.

Flexibility exercises include yoga and Pilates, which can help to improve mobility. Try finding a local fitness class or club today!

Heart Research UK inspires and invests in pioneering medical research, ground-breaking training and education, and in communities to improve their heart health for themselves.

For over 50 years the organisation have driven advancements in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease to benefit patients as soon as possible.

In the past 10 years, Heart Research UK has funded over £10.2m in medical research in hospitals and universities across the UK, as well as £2.2m on innovative community-based lifestyle projects to improve the heart health of the nation.

For more tips, visit the charity’s website at heartresearch.org.uk