Health / 23.02.2015

Heart Month 2015: 10 ways to take 10

By Roisin Dervish-O'Kane
Simple tips to keep your ticker ticking over, this Heart Month and beyond

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Food, fitness, sleep, stress, drinking moderately  ̶  we don’t need to tell you that we’re sucking at all of them. We can write-off impact of our little treats and slackening fitness on our thighs  ̶  and do our best to power through brain fog clouded mornings with turbo-strength coffee.

But your heart? That fist-sized organ is responsible that’s keeping you going and it deserves more than a little love. Your life literally depends on it. And new research from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) shows we’re falling short.

We’re falling well shy of our 150-minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week and less a third of adults get their recommended 5-a-day. As for the new ‘7-a-day and mostly veg’ guideline that’s been bandied about? Let’s not even go there.

Read more: Eat these 10 superfoods for perfect skin

But a lecture on having kale for breakfast, lunch and dinner and daily spin classes this is not. This February is Heart Month, and to mark it, the BHF are calling on us to make a small change, everyday, to keep our ticker ticking over.

Small, incremental steps to living better is what healthy is all about  ̶  so we’ve come up with 10 easy, fun (and sometimes delicious) ways to take 1o. And don’t worry super-healthies, we’re not knocking spinning or kale either. Those are very good, too. In fact, here’s a quick kale lunch idea you’ll likely love.

1 Walk

Make small changes like walking rather than driving, and taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. Aim to take a walk everyday to work, or just to the shop. Or, on the weekends, why not arrange to go for an hour-long stride around somewhere green with your best pal before having that cappuccino and cake you’ve got booked in?

2 Plan

Set aside 10 (or more, if you can) minutes in your week for activities like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, exercise classes or team sports, like football or netball.

Read more: How to become a netballer

3 Set goals

Aim to work up to at least 150 minutes of this type of activity a week. You can spread this out over the week however you like: short bursts before work, on your lunchbreak  ̶ or perhaps give yourself a morning every weekend to focus on being kind to your body.

4 Stir-fry

Eating healthily doesn’t mean hours in the kitchen; try this superfood stir fry recipe. Ideal if you’ve been working late; it’s ready in under 10.

5 Get headspace

You can’t have a healthy body with a zapped, wound-up mind. Let Andy Puddicombe, founder of the Headspace app, ease you into mindfulness with his beginner’s meditation: a simple technique to help declutter your brain. The best bit? You only need 10 minutes.

6 Breathe (properly)

Taking control of your breathing is important for a healthy self. De-stress and decompress with this 5-step guide to the perfect breathing technique  ̶  short enough to be done on a ‘I’m just popping out for some air’ break.

7 Be your own gym

Forget the hours on the cross-trainer or exercise bike. For the strong-not-skinny look, strength training is where it’s at, and you can achieve a lot with your bodyweight. To get started, you just need to work out for 10 minutes a day – no equipment necessary. Make real changes to your bod by doing this 10-minute workout designed especially for healthy by celebrity trainer, PJ Stahl.

8 Walk harder

Already clocking up the steps on your FitBit? Well done you! With a few tweaks to your technique, you can turn that bop to your favourite coffee shop into a 10-minute workout. Check out this 5-step guide.

9 #JustMoveMore

Studies have shown that the average UK adult spends around 20 hours of each day either sitting or lying down, leaving just four hours each day for movement. Squeeze extra activity into a jam-packed schedule with these tips.

10 Choose speedy superfoods

Low-carb, low-fat and super quick to make, this prawn curry comes without the side order of guilt. Prawns are an excellent source of protein and contain a high dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids too. Follow chef Anjum Anand’s quick prawn curry recipe and fortify your heart in less time than it takes to heat up a pizza in the oven.

During Heart Month, the BHF is offering an email support programme and advice to help people improve their diet, get more active or quit smoking. For more information about the Heart Month 10 minute challenge, visit or join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #10MinChallenge

How will you be taking on the #10MinChallenge to mark Heart Month 2015? Let us know by tweeting your tips and pics @healthymag.

Heart Month 2015: 10 ways to take 10
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Heart Month 2015: 10 ways to take 10
It's Heart Month 2015, and the healthy team are getting involved with BHF's #10MinChallenge campaign with 10 ways to take 10 and keep your heart healthy
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Healthy Magazine
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