We have decided to try and help in any way we can with educating about heart disease. We now want to make a more physical donation to helping those who suffer heart disease by planning a 1080 mile sponsored cycle ride from Lands End to John O’ Groats also known as LEJOG.
This is a relatively well-known cycle route in the United Kingdom where you cycle from one end of the country to the other. The usual trip would start at Lands end in Cornwall at the South Western tip of England and goes all the way up to the North Eastern extreme of Scotland ending at John O’ Groats.
We are planning to cycle un-aided carrying full camping kit between two of us over a route of approximately 1080 miles over two weeks in aid of the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
We are hoping to raise at least £1000 for this endeavor, which is about a single pound for every mile travelled on the road. We will be raising money for a wonderful charity whilst ensuring our own heart fitness!
We are planning to keep everyone up-dated on our training progress and estimated time of departure via Heart-Blog.com. Donations can be made at our secure justgiving.com page: http://www.justgiving.com/ChrisandBecca. We would be happy to take sponsorship for short-term advertising on the Heart-Blog.com website as negotiable.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It doesn’t have to be and here are some helpful ways to help keep your heart healthy:
1. Stop smoking! By far one of the best things anyone can do to live longer. If you are a smoker you are twice as likely to have a heart attack than a non-smoker. Time is of the essence as it takes years for your heart and lungs to recover after extended periods of smoking. So it can never be too soon to stop! With the new public smoking bans and the ever increasing cigarette and tobacco prices when would there be a better time to quit?
2. Watch your diet. A healthy diet can go a long way to ensuring the health of your heart. Not only this but you are much more likely to survive a heart attack if you have been eating healthily. Try to avoid processed foods and those with large amounts of saturated fats and salts. Keep to fresh fruit and vegetables with your balanced diet. Try and substitute red meats for fish and last but not least try and reduce foods like biscuits, pastries, cakes and dairy products with high saturated fat and sugar levels.
3. Exercise moderately. The heart pumps blood around the body and needs exercise to keep itself fit. A moderate 30 minutes of exercise a day is great for your heart. However, this can be daunting if you are just starting out, build up gradually and enjoy the rewards of keeping your heart fitter. If this isn’t encouragement enough, exercise has been shown to improve mental wellbeing too. So not only will your heart be happy but you will too!
4. Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol can damage heart tissue if you drink too much. It is suggested not to drink more than 1-2 units per day. Not only this but heavy drinking can lead to weight gain, whilst binge drinking will significantly raise the chance of having a heart attack.
5. Recognise the symptoms of coronary heart disease (CHD). This can present as tightness or discomfort in the chest, neck, arm or stomach, which may come with exercise and go when you are at rest. These can be the first signs of angina, which may lead to a heart attack if left untreated.
New research has highlighted the protective effect of exercise on the heart via a chemical called Nitric Oxide and the enzyme that produces it eNOS.
It is known that exercise reduces the risk of heart attack and protects the heart to an extent from heart injury if a heart attack does occur. It has been a major aim for doctors to understand how this second method of protection works, and how it may help protect the heart after heart attacks occur.
Researchers at Emory University may have gone some way to identifying an important part to the puzzle. The group have identified that the heart has the ability to produce and to an extent store Nitric Oxide during exercise.
Nitric oxide has the ability to relax blood vessels, increase blood flow and critically help the heart tissue better survive heart attacks. This would mean that during exercise your body will build up Nitric Oxide stores that can be later used when the body needs it.
However, the study found that the effects of exercise are not long lived. Mice were allowed to voluntarily exercise on exercise wheels for four weeks. The mice were then given heart attacks. Those mice that had been voluntarily exercising for the four weeks leading up to the heart attack had less severe heart attacks.
Unfortunately this cardio protective effect was shown to be short-lived. If the wheel was taken away from the mice that had been exercising for four weeks the beneficial effect seemed to be lost after a week of non-exercise. This evidence highlights the need for regular moderate exercise as a good way of reducing the risk of heart attack and it’s severity if it does occur.
Full article at Circulation Research.