5 Ways To Maintain Your Family's Heart Health During The Pandemic

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

We must strive to maintain heart health at all times by making small lifestyle adjustments at home.

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Maintaining good heart health, while it is a must in any situation, maybe a bit of a challenge for some people these days. That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic has kept individuals confined in their homes, which, in turn, meant that they may easily fall prey to a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits. 

How to maintain your family's heart health during the pandemic
Photo courtesy of pexels.com

5 Ways To Maintain Your Family's Heart Health During The Pandemic

    Healthy individuals may find themselves struggling with maintaining their ideal weight because they find it challenging to stick to a regular routine of physical exercise. 

    And while we have more liberty to cook nutritious meals at home, we may be tempted to consume more junk food because we simply have the freedom to do so at home unlike, say, when we are in the workplace. 

    However, those most affected are vulnerable or high-risk individuals such as those with hypertension, diabetes, and other serious illnesses. As such, they must take extra precautions when it comes to their health. 

    And for all of us, nothing beats taking a holistic and proactive stance when it comes to maintaining our overall health. 

    Maintaining a healthy heart 


    In the Philippines, cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death among individuals. The majority of those deaths can be prevented because it’s mostly brought about by an unhealthy lifestyle. 

    We can make adjustments when it comes to our exercise and diet. These could go a long way towards attaining good heart health. 

    It need not be an abrupt change. You can take small steps and eventually do or add more as you make progress. To start with, here are five steps that you can take in your heart health journey: 

    1. Stop smoking 


    Smoking has been linked as the culprit behind numerous types of diseases including that of the heart, the respiratory system, and certain forms of cancer. As such, if you are smoking, it would be beneficial for your overall wellness to kick the habit no matter your age. 

    Furthermore, if you have children and you are a smoker, do them a favor by quitting the habit. Secondhand smoke as well as the chemicals that stick to your clothes and hair could potentially harm your little ones. 

    The most recommended way to quit is to do it cold turkey. However, if you cannot do it, you can gradually decrease your cigarette consumption until you can finally forego it. 

    2. Get moving 


    Exercise is a great way to strengthen your cardiovascular system. It keeps your circulation healthy and it may even help you lose weight. It has also been said many times but it can never be overemphasized – endorphins released during exercise can contribute to your overall mental health because these make you feel good. 

    Exercise to maintain your family's heart health during the pandemic
    Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

    A good way to exercise is to involve your family. You can have your spouse or partner as an exercise buddy. You can even encourage your parents and children to accompany you during exercise, which would also be doing your loved ones a big favor. 

    You can start with light activities such as stretching and cardiovascular exercises and progress to more intensive workouts such as those involving equipment. The point is there is really no good excuse to forego exercise because you can do it right in the comfort of your home. 

    3. Eat healthy food 


    The key to eating healthy food is to prepare it yourself, which is really easy when you are at home. You can buy healthy ingredients from the grocery store or you can have them delivered to your doorstep when you order online. 

    Healthy eating to maintain your family's heart health during the pandemic
    Photo by Ella Olsson from Pexels

    What’s also good about it is that you know what goes into the food you prepare. You have full control over the taste as well as the use of salt and other seasonings. 

    You can also incorporate more heart-healthy fish instead of meat in your daily diet. Again, you can prepare this in a way that your family will really appreciate. 

    Furthermore, there are a lot of healthy recipes available on the internet for us to try. They are mostly simple and quick to make. Who knows, this might even bring out your hidden talent in the kitchen and provide the start towards your own healthy cooking blog or channel. 

    4. Laugh a lot 


    The more you laugh, the more positive energy you radiate and attract. According to the American Health Association, laughing can lower stress which, in turn, can decrease mental troubles, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, among other health benefits. 

    The lockdown may even provide you time to bond with your family, sort of makeup for all the lost opportunities because of your work commitment. 

    Reconnect with your spouse and have a slow “date” while you are at home. You can have a glass of wine together or a cup of hot coffee on the porch. 

    You can also have movie nights with your whole family and indulge in various genres such as classic, musicals, cartoons, documentaries, and so on just to make it fun and non-predictable. 

    These are just simple things that can bring a lot of joy to us and contribute towards our overall health. 

    5. Take it easy 


    The quarantine may also be a time to relax and take things slowly. Doing so can help you decrease your blood pressure and improve your mood. Take a hobby that will keep you busy such as planting edible plants in your garden. 

    Relaxation to maintain your family's heart health during the pandemic
    Photo by Oziel Gómez from Pexels

    The work involved when tending to your plants can keep you preoccupied and away from stress. It will provide you some physical activity and something to look forward to. 

    You can also start reading the books that you have long been planning to read. It’s a good way to detach yourself from your gadgets and the internet and provides a temporary escape from the pressures of life. 

    World Heart Day observance


    Launched in 2016 by the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Heart Day is held every 29th of September to bring to light cardiovascular health maintenance as well as heart disease prevention. 

    Happy Heart, Happy Home webinar

    Locally, Sanofi Philippines and BayanihanMD supported the World Health Day by hosting a session dubbed Happy Heart, Happy Home. This initiative is part of its Panata ng Pamilya campaign to help Filipino families maintain their health in the midst of the pandemic. 

    “One of our objectives in this pandemic is to ensure healthcare access for all patients and that's why we partnered with Sanofi Philippines,” said Dr. Karl Ablola, BayanihanMD president, and session co-host. 

    “Through WeHealth, Sanofi partners up with different platforms to bring healthcare to all; which is the same mission that we, at Bayanihan MD, have,” explained Dr. Ablola. 

    According to the experts, while heart disease may be inherited, it is also mainly caused by unwholesome lifestyle choices that start at home. 

    Heart health online learning session with experts from the medical field

    "It boils down to lifestyle and that starts at home and what we've been exposed to when we were growing up. So, if you grow up with unhealthy eating habits, you will really increase the risk of developing hypertension," Dr. Celine Fider, the BayanihanMD host, affirmed. 

    “We run the risk of developing it from the choices we make. So it's not hypertension that's inherited but the unhealthy habits and lifestyle we pick up from our environment, our family,” Dr. Ana Adora, a cardiologist and guest speaker added. 

    As such, one of the topics discussed during the online session is the crucial role of the family in helping manage hypertension at home when a loved one is affected. 

    “That's why the family is so important in managing these chronic diseases. If you have someone in your immediate family and household with hypertension, you and your other family members may also be at risk of developing it. So lifestyle modification must not just come from an individual level, but also for the entire family,” Dr. Adora emphasized. 

    If you are interested, you can watch the full episode on this Facebook Watch page.

    Epilogue 


    Maintaining heart health should also be prioritized in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Heart disease is a serious illness that continues to claim many lives daily. 

    The best way to maintain heart health is to start at home by making lifestyle changes such as exercising and eating healthy and nutritious food. 

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    Ways to maintain your family's heart health during the pandemic

    And while we are in lockdown, we can even encourage our loved ones to join us in the journey towards heart health.

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