There is more than one reason to get active. A sedentary lifestyle doubles your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. The good news is that 80 percent of heart disease and strokes can be prevented through lifestyle, diet and exercise. Therefore, it is important to include healthy foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and add exercise to your daily routine.
There are 10 people who suffer from a stroke in South Africa every hour, while 225 lose their lives to heart disease every day. When somebody suffers from a stroke, every second counts. Strokes are increasingly becoming a challenge as they not only cause death but can severely impact the quality of life for survivors.
What’s more, strokes do not just affect the elderly, but also those in middle age and even children. Professor Pamela Naidoo from the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa says: “Therefore, it is highly crucial that people, regardless of their age, seriously consider their lifestyle and diet to reduce the risk of strokes.
“Getting active should become a regular habit and a way of life. Any activity that gets the heart pumping faster counts. Try brisk walking, cycling, going to the gym, swimming, dancing, gardening or hiking, or just play an active game with the kids and family pets,” she continues.
“Choosing healthier food options. Omega-3 fatty acids are also crucial for brain growth and development in infants. It has also been shown to lower bad cholesterol and high blood pressure while raising ‘good’ cholesterol levels, which can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes,” she continues.
Being more physically active does not mean setting aside two hours each day to visit the gym. Doing mild physical activity can do wonders to get the blood flowing and the heart pumping. In fact, doing some physical activity is better than doing nothing at all.
“Find a friend or family member to exercise with, which should make it more fun. Small changes like opting to walk instead of driving or taking the stairs instead of the lift can help get you moving more than before. If you’re lucky enough to live close to a beach or park, throw on those trainers and go for a light jog. The fresh air will also do so much good. Just remember to start slowly and set realistic goals,” concludes Prof. Naidoo.