Skip to content

World Heart Day is celebrated every year on 29 September. It is a chance to educate yourself on all things heart health. In this blog, Allam Harfoush, PhD student at Chester Medical School discusses interventions to help prevent heart disease and invites you to get involved  in the Chester Medical School 3-minute exercise challenge.

Can heart disease be prevented?

Firstly, what are heart diseases? Basically, anything related to heart attacks and strokes. I always ask myself whether heart disease could be prevented or not? I think the answer is shocking, as it turns out that more than half of heart diseases could be prevented.

Looking at the numbers in the UK, 7.6 million people have heart disease, accounting for approximately 11% of the population!

What lifestyle interventions can help the heart?

Many people who have heart disease do not have any symptoms and then they might suddenly present with a heart attack or a stroke. Some simple measures could actually reduce the risk of heart disease but unfortunately most of us do not pay attention to these interventions.

There are several things we can do to reduce our risk of heart disease, but these all require us to be willing to change our lifestyle. Some of the things that can increase the risks of heart disease are smoking, being overweight, not being physically active, eating unhealthy and fast food, and having a high blood pressure and blood glucose. The interesting thing is that all of these factors could affect each other. For example, if you eat healthy food, you might actually lose weight, lower your blood lipids, and lower your blood pressure, which will eventually reduce your heart disease risk.

So what could we do?

Let us start with smoking, as studies show that routine advice is not always effective to encourage quitting smoking. That is why we need different approaches, such as participating in national campaigns like the 28-day stop smoking challenge, which is likely to increase the chance of participants quitting smoking by 5 times!

Reduce your weight by also participating in national campaigns, such as the Dechox challenge, which is designed to give up sweets for 31 days. Group exercise has also been shown to have a better effect on body weight and mood compared to solo training. You might start a walking or cycling group (which I personally do) to exercise regularly and catch up with friends at the same time.

“But I have a desk job”! Then we need to take a break for three minutes every hour. Just move around, go to the copier, or go refill your water bottle. Also, try taking the stairs rather than taking the lift. Finally, make sure to bring healthy food with you from home rather than eat fast food for lunch.

Chester Medical School 3-minute exercise challenge

What can we do at the University of Chester? For this year’s World Heart Day, we would like to initiate the Chester Medical School 3-minute exercise challenge! If your work includes sitting, then you have to get up and move for three minutes every hour. If you’re teaching, you also have to encourage your students to move around for three minutes every hour.

Share your Chester Medical School 3-minute exercise challenge on social Media. Use the hashtag #CMS_3_minute_exercise_challenge and tag @uocmedschool


Share this content