Tips to improve heart health at work

Our workplace habits can have a big impact on our heart health. Bupa’s National Medical Director Dr Rob Grenfell says some small changes can make a big difference.

Here are some of Dr Rob’s tips for keeping your heart healthy at work.

A healthy start

Ditch the fatty fry up and instead opt for nutritious breakfast foods that are high in fibre and low in saturated fat. Try scrambled or poached eggs on wholegrain toast, or a bowl of wholegrain cereal with low-fat milk.

Stay Zen

Feeling overwhelmed or stressed at work has been linked to high blood-pressure. Try making a list and prioritising it; it’s a good feeling crossing off completed tasks. Leave extra time for delays so you’re not racing from meeting to meeting, feel comfortable saying ‘no’ and delegate where possible.

Step away from the salt

Steering clear of salty foods is a great way to help lower your blood pressure, and reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. Fibre rich foods like wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, and vegetables can help lower your cholesterol. Try only eating lean cuts of meat, and replacing fatty meats with beans and lentils, which are low-fat and can help give you lasting energy. 

Take a break

Scoffing food at your desk can result in overeating. It’s always important to eat mindfully, focusing on what we’re eating and when you’re full. Why not take your lunch to the park or go for a brisk walk to stretch your legs? Taking time out can help reduce stress levels and give you mental clarity. 
Eating lunch outside during lunch break resized

Work in exercise

Finding time to exercise might seem impossible in our increasingly busy lives. But you might be surprised how much difference incidental exercise can make. Try taking the stairs or hopping off the train or bus one or two stop early and walking to work.  

Stop smoking

Smoking is a major cause of heart disease. Many smokers associate having a cigarette with calming them down. However the nicotine in cigarettes actually has the opposite effect, causing a spike in your heart rate and your blood pressure. Smoking also damages the walls of your blood vessels, causing them to narrow and harden, and makes your blood more likely to clot, all of which increases your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

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