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How to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease with Lifestyle with Dr Zarrin Shaikh, Cardiologist. Podcast Episode 5.

The vast majority of heart disease is preventable. In the first part of “how to reduce your risk of heart disease” we looked at nutrition and a heart healthy diet.

Today we’re going to look at lifestyle and how we can prevent heart disease.

Dr Zarrin Shaikh, Consultant Cardiolgist

Thank you so much to Dr Zarrin for coming and chatting to us.

A Heart Healthy Lifestyle Podcast Episode


How to Live a Heart Healthy Lifestyle

  1. Exercise (at least 25 minutes of getting out of breath a day).
  2. Reduce Stress.
  3. Mindfulness and Meditation.
  4. Sleep Well (7-8 hours a night).
  5. Friends an\d Community.

A woman doing yoga by the beach at sunset #healthyliving #healthyeating #healthylifestyle #howtobehealthy #healthylifetips #antiheartdisease #preventheartdisease #reducetheriskofheartdisease #heartdiseasediet #reverseheartdisease #heartdiseaseprevention

Exercise Gives Us More than a Healthy Heart

A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for heart disease. Regular exercise is associated with significantly lower risk of heart disease.

Walking 25 minutes a day can add up to 7 years to your life!

Exercise can also make you happier!

Exercise can lengthen your telomeres and help you live longer.

You need to do enough exercise to get your heart rate up a bit. To get a little bit out of breath.

Make Exercise Enjoyable

Is the key to successfully building it into your routine.

High Intensity Interval Training HIIT

HIIT also has benefits but it’s advisable to build up to high intensity exercise.

A Stressful Lifestyle Can Lead to Heart Disease

The acute stress response is great to protect us from danger. We now live in a society where we have chronic stress. This chronic stress isn’t good for our health.

Chronic stress turns on the inflammatory process and contributes to heart disease.

A woman relaxing while reading a book #healthyliving #healthyeating #healthylifestyle #howtobehealthy #healthylifetips #antiheartdisease #preventheartdisease #reducetheriskofheartdisease #heartdiseasediet #reverseheartdisease #heartdiseaseprevention

Mindfulness and Meditation Can Protect Against Heart Disease

A small amount of meditation has beneficial affects. Any type of meditation is fine.

Meditation can decrease inflammation, decrease your heart rate and your blood pressure.

See also Podcast Episode 3: Meditation for Beginners.

Lack of Sleep Increases Our Risk of Dying

Sleep is linked to all the other lifestyle factors.

When we don’t have enough sleep, our sympathetic nervous system is active. We don’t eat as healthily. We’re at higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

Sleep is a time for metabolic restoration. Your blood pressure and heart rate drop.

The optimum time for sleep is 7-8 hours a night for optimum heart health.

Are Naps Also Good for Your Health?

A nap is a great way to supplement your sleep if you aren’t getting enough during the night. They can be beneficial.

Naps are a personal thing. If you feel revitalised and refreshed after a sleep, carry on napping.

If you feel groggy after your nap, try to get more sleep during the night.

Dr Zarrin’s Tips for Optimal Sleep

  1. Address the other lifestyle tips, exercise, relaxation, eating well.
  2. Limit caffeine. Caffeine affects us differently. If caffeine affects you, limit it to the morning.
  3. Morning light. Helps reset our body clock. 20 minutes a day, even if it’s cloudy.
  4. Digital Detox. Especially the hour before going to sleep.
  5. Sleep routine. Half an hour before to bed to relax.

Community Can Help Prevent Heart Disease

People who feel lonely and isolated are more like to die from all causes, including heart disease.

In the UK we now have a Minister of Loneliness!

It’s really important to connect with people, to laugh and have fun with our friends.

Two women having a chat over tea #healthyliving #healthyeating #healthylifestyle #howtobehealthy #healthylifetips #antiheartdisease #preventheartdisease #reducetheriskofheartdisease #heartdiseasediet #reverseheartdisease #heartdiseaseprevention

Key Points to Live a Heart Healthy Life

  1. Whole food plant based diet.
  2. Exercise and movement.
  3. Active relaxation. (Watching TV and playing computer games doesn’t count.)
  4. Friends and community.

Dr Zarrin at LifeStyleCardiology

You can find out more about Dr Zarrin Shaikh at lifestyle cardiology. Follow her on twitter. @DrZarrinShaikh.


Written by Dr Orlena Kerek

Dr Orlena is a medical doctor turned health coach. She helps busy mums go from "I can't lose weight" to feeling fit and fabulous. Find out more about her here.


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