A 12 hours work day, unusual eating habits and inactive lifestyle due to the ongoing lockdown. In the new normal we might be also facing a big challenge for the future. The frequency of coronary heart disease in young Indians is 15-18% higher than in any other population group globally. With the stay at home instructions and increasing stress might make this statistics worse in the coming times. As per some of the data shared by activity tracker manufacturers COVID-19 has effected the activity levels of people around the globe and there has been a reduction in the step count of users. This might be one of the indicators of increase in lifestyle challenges in the new normal.
Human beings have been need to have active lifestyle for a healthy heart. But in the age of information our screen time has been increasing. This not only leads to more stress but also an inactive lifestyle. This is harmful for our body and the heart. This has been a trend which is increase in young adults leading to an increase in CVD cases.
The current crisis which has imprisoned us all, literally. When humans could make efforts to keep a healthy lifestyle before, they are now asked to confine themselves to the safety of their homes, eliminating all possibilities of exercise. Even though science has evolved with better technology and advanced medical practices, it is essentially in our hands, to keep ourselves active, to have a stronger heart.
September 29 is celebrated as World Heart Day, in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy heart. In the current scenario, having a healthy heart can be one’s biggest asset. Building on this World Heart Day’s theme, ‘Use heart to beat Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVD)’, we talk to Ambrish Singh, Medical advisor of Cadila Pharmaceuticals, on what are some of the ways one can keep their hearts healthy in the current pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is fatal when you suffer from other comorbidities. While we can’t control some of them, keeping our heart healthy is probably the easiest way to ensure we don’t fall a victim of COVID-19. However with quarantine and work-from-home scenarios, keeping a healthy heart might become a challenge. I share some key points you should know to keep yourselves healthy especially during COVID-19.
Sitting is like smoking
We are all aware smoking cigarettes increases the risk of potential heart problems. Same can be said for having a sedentary lifestyle. The importance of a healthy lifestyle cannot be stressed enough. We are everyday spending 8 hours in front of screens that are rendering us inactive for the majority of the day. Additionally, in our free time, we are busy watching content and scrolling our mobile phones. All of our time has been taken up by technology leaving us little time to take care of ourselves. In such a scenario, it is important to take out an hour every day for physical activities.
World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both for a healthy heart. This is easily achievable if only we have the intent. Even in self isolation, multiple exercises can be taken up such as Yoga which not only helps you burn the excess fat but also increases flexibility of the body.
Being in self-quarantine or working from home can lead people to adopt unhealthy eating habits. To avoid stress and exhaustion, make sure you follow a daily schedule, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Your heart does a lot of work to keep the body going. I am mentioning a few tips to keep your heart healthy and active while you are self-quaratined or working from home.
Take short active breaks during the day and avoid continuous seating for more than 30 minutes. Being at home has increased the usage of the internet and time spend. Following an online exercise class can be the best usage of this situation. Stay physically active while at home with this set of home-based exercises from WHO. Remember the mantra of an active and healthy heart.
Walk, stand up, and relax!
Stress is another culprit for deteriorating a healthy heart condition. Avoid stress and exhaustion, maintain your social network even remotely, and regularly communicate with your friends and family. Limit the information you consume about the outbreak and the time you spend on it, and only trust reliable sources. Some good sources of information are the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
Many people who experience stress in current situations often turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with that stress. The problem with that is alcohol itself can cause stress on the body’s physiological balance. For dealing with this stressful situation, consumption of alcohol and drugs seems to be an easy remedy; however, it will only give positive feelings and relaxation for a short term.
Heart patients need to take better care of themselves. While taking all the precautions, it is also essential to take medications on time with proper diet and exercise to improve the immune system.