Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease causing 3.2 million deaths globally, yet more than half of women living in Europe have insufficient levels of physical activity – defined by the World Health Organization as being less than five times 30 minutes of moderate activity per week, or less than three times 20 minutes of vigorous activity per week.
Being physically active, by playing sports such as football, can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Thirty minutes of activity a day can help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Try to make exercise a regular part of your life: use the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.
Once you’ve taken care of the activity, don’t forget that most of the other major cardiovascular disease risks factors can also be controlled – here are a few tips how.
Stop smoking and protect yourself from tobacco
Your risk of coronary heart disease will be halved within a year and will return to a normal level over time. Avoid smoke-filled environments: exposure to second-hand smoke significantly increases the risk of a heart attack.
Maintain a healthy weight
Keeping a healthy weight and limiting your salt intake will help to control your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Know your numbers
Have your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels checked regularly. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major factor for approximately half of all heart disease and stroke. High blood cholesterol and glucose levels can also place you at greater risk.
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, a variety of whole grain products, lean meat, fish, peas, beans, lentils, and foods low in saturated fats. Be wary of processed foods, which often contain high levels of salt. Drink lots of water!
For more information on heart health, visit http://www.world-heart-federation.org/
Source: World Heart Federation