February sees the British Heart Foundation’s Heart Health month and GHP want to help everyone out there protect themselves and loved ones from heart disease. Coronary Heart Disease is the UK’s biggest killer, taking around 73,000 lives each year. Many of the risks for heart disease are modifiable, meaning YOU can make a difference to your heart health.

One of the main risk factors is poor diet leading to obesity. Little changes that you can make to your diet can have huge benefits. For example, aiming for one more portion of vegetables a day, or swapping white bread for wholegrain, or even having an egg roll instead of bacon on a Sunday morning! There is no need to drastically change your diet all at once – small, easy to stick to changes are the answer.

Another way to reduce your risk of heart disease, is to get up off that sofa and participate in 30 minutes if exercise 5 times a week. Those are the recommended guidelines; 2 and a half hours of physical activity a week. Now, we don’t mean absolutely killing yourself on a treadmill for half an hour! Find something you enjoy, whether is going for a cycle to the shops, kick around in the park with friends, or putting on some tunes and dancing like Beyonce. You will only adhere to exercise if you enjoy it. Try out some new hobbies; take up yoga or drag a friend along to some group classes.

Now for all you smokers out there… put down that cigarette! Stopping smoking is the single most important step you can take to protect your heart. Smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to someone who has never smoked. It is never too late to give up and there any many products and support out there to help you quit. ┬áTry looking online at the British Heart Foundation’s page for help and advice – https://nosmokingday.org.uk/i-want-to-quit/help-to-quit/

So lets start protecting our hearts today! Whether its starting that new exercise class you’ve been telling yourself for weeks you will start or reducing your cigarette consumption by just 1 a day, YOU are the one that can make the difference. Protect those hearts and they will protect you.