Six steps to a healthy heart

A healthy heart is considered the window to a healthy life. Here are six simple things to keep your heart healthy and pumping…-Take time out to exercise every day for at least 60 minutes. “If you are too busy, divide your work-outs into small sessions. You can spend about 20 minutes walking in the morning and indulge in some stretches later in the evening,” says Vrusha Mehra, a fitness expert, “You don’t necessarily have to hit the gym. Even if you are sweeping or spring cleaning, you are keeping your heart ac-tive.”-Healthy diet is a must if you want to take good care of your heart. Dr Hariharan S says, “Basics like adding a lot of whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet must be followed regularly. Also, stick to lean proteins (like cottage cheese, egg whites, beans and leg-umes) and keep off saturated fats when-ever you can.”-”Smoking increases risk of cardio disease by two to four times,” says Mehra. Passive smoking also raises the risk by 30 %. So, quit smoking right away. “Studies have shown that nicotine-free cigarettes, e-cig-arettes and patches are equally harmful. Divert your attention every time you feel the urge to pick up a cigarette. Drink wa-ter or juice when you crave for smoke. Or consult a therapist,” she adds.-Stress and depression have a direct im-pact on the health of your heart. “If you are stressed out, it strains your heart. This, in turn, encourages smoking, drinking and binge eating. Try out yoga and meditation. Listening to sooth-ing music and reading also helps,” Mehra says.-Overweight and obesity is another factor that targets the heart. According to Mehra, “BMI of over 25 is dangerous. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts a lot of pres-sure on the heart, which has to work hard to keep the body going. “-Most importantly, you must get a regular check-up done. Dr Hariharan says, “Screen for Type 2 diabetes every now and then, especially if your family has a history of it.”