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How to Have a Heart Healthy Christmas

The festive season can be a real challenge when you have a heart condition. Here are some tips for looking after your heart this Christmas.

Cardiac Screen - Health Heart

Avoid the Temptations:

Food and drink can be a big part of the festivities, but it’s important not to give in to temptation. Try to stick to your diet as much as possible and be very strict about allowing yourself any treats.

  • Make sure friends and family know not to give you chocolates or other food-related treats as presents
  • Plan your Christmas dinner carefully. Changing the ingredients or the way things are cooked can make them healthier by reducing salt and saturated fat.
  • Try to avoid eating party foods as they’re often full of fat, salt and sugar

Alcohol can be hard to avoid at Christmas, but you can have a good time without drinking too much.

  • Volunteer to be the designated driver after a party so that you can avoid drinking
  • Choose a non-alcoholic wine or beer if you want to fit in without drinking alcohol
  • Avoid events where there will be heavy drinking, or leave early if you must make an appearance
  • Suggest some “dry” alternatives like an office ice skating outing or family-friendly party

Make Time for Exercise:

Keeping active is always more difficult when it’s cold and dark outside, and Christmas just gives you more excuses to relax in front of the telly. Try to keep up with your usual exercise routine and look for some ways to make your Christmas more active too.

  • Taking a walk can be a healthy Christmas or Boxing Day tradition for the whole family
  • Get some exercise when you’re doing your Christmas shopping by parking at the far end of the car park or walking to your local shops
  • Plan some Christmas activities that will get you moving, such as dancing or party games like charades

Manage Your Stress:

Managing your stress is important for your heart, and it should make your Christmas more enjoyable too.

  • Don’t try to do everything yourself
  • Take some time out when you need it
  • Use relaxation techniques such as yoga or breathing exercises
  • Get plenty of sleep