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World Heart Day: diet, exercise, and other lifestyle tips for a healthy heart

World Heart Day is coming up on September 29 and is a day to remind us all about the importance of our heart health. Heart disease affects approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults, and is the second leading cause of death in Canada. You can protect, maintain, and help contribute to your overall heart health through exercise, diet, and other lifestyle decisions and changes.

Exercise

An active lifestyle decreases your risk of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, and can improve things like balance. If those aren’t enough reasons for you to be make exercise a part of your daily routine, it’s also important to note that physical activity of any type, duration, and intensity may lead to improvements in the quality of life of people with chronic heart failure.

Diet

Malnutrition among older adults can affect immune and sensory functions and aggravate the symptoms of cardiovascular disease. You can promote heart health by eating salmon, mackerel, tuna, and other fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Don’t like fish? Try fish oil supplements. There is also evidence that by reducing sodium intake, you can lower blood pressure, which in turn can decrease your risk of heart disease.

Additional lifestyle tips

If you’re one of the over one billion people worldwide who smoke tobacco, quitting may be on the top of your wish list. If you need another reason to stop, smoking is a risk factor associated with heart disease, and by quitting, you can improve your lung and cardiovascular function. Another lifestyle change that will benefit your heart health is limiting alcohol consumption and consuming no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two a day for men.

There are several lifestyle factors that can contribute to good overall heart health. They include exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding tobacco, and limiting alcohol intake. For more evidence-based resources on this topic, read through our links below.

 

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DISCLAIMER: Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of these blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations such as social distancing and frequent hand washing. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with current social distancing recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website

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