I’ve started the Wessex Heartbeat Healthy Heart Challenge

We all know that looking after your ticker is really important but, I’m guilty for taking my heart and it’s health for granted.

I’ve been invited to take part in a 12 week challenge by local charity, Wessex Heartbeat, to make little changes every day to improve my heart health.

Find out more about the challenge here.

The 12 week challenge

I’m sat down a lot at work, I guzzle coffee like it’s going out of fashion (not in moderation!) and I’ve not been as good at getting to the gym of late. It’s time to change my ways.

For 12 weeks I’ll be making changes to my every day routine to improve my heart heath with support and advice from Wessex Heartbeat.

This challenge is so good for me as it provides daily email support, tips and tricks and little ways to change behaviours that will improve heart and overall health. Sometimes a daily reminder is what it takes for me to make proper lifestyle changes.

The scheme is being piloted by around 50 people from the South’s business community from April and, if successful, will be rolled out to the general public later in the year.

In the Lee Peck Media office we’re all taking part and supporting each other to change our ways for the better.

Health check up

At the start of the challenge we all had a health check from Wessex Heartbeat’s cardiac nurses, checking our weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

I was very nervous about the thought of a health check, I know I’m not where I currently want to be and I’m doing stuff to change that. But, I’m not there yet, I’m on a journey. Why am I so scared of someone judging me? Why am I so embarrassed by what someone else will think? Taking part in this challenge shows I want to improve and be better – isn’t it funny how your mind works? No one should feel down on themselves for wanting to be healthier or fitter.

Thankfully I need not have worried at all. The nurses didn’t lecture you during the health check, they were so lovely and gave you lots of things you can proactively do or look at to help improve your health. I feel a bit silly now as they were amazing, kind and the check was over really quickly.

There will be another check at the end to see the progress I’ve made.

Changes

Each week a new achievable challenge is sent to be introduced and implemented as a lifestyle change. The daily emails are funny, thought provoking and provide lots of useful recipes and fitness suggestions.

I’m four weeks into the challenge and so far I’ve been given things like drinking 2-3 litres of water a day and walking a certain number of steps.

The water was a big adjustment and some days I do better than others. I’m not being too hard on myself though as it’s still a change for the better and more water is always going to be better than less especially if it replaces other things I shouldn’t be drinking!

The other one we’ve all really embraced in the office is getting in a healthy heart walk. Stretching my legs at lunchtime or in the afternoon rather than being glued to my desk all day makes a huge difference.  I come back into the office refreshed, less fidgety and glad for getting some natural light on my face.

We’re also part of a Facebook group where there are lots of recipes and health tips. It’s really encouraging to see everyone making changes and definitely spurs you on.

The recipes are all really good and I must say I’ve gone to them a couple of times when I’m stuck for something for dinner.

I can’t wait to see my stats at the end and really hope they are improved.

Heart facts

Now for the super serious bit, the part that really hammered home why I should stop taking my heart health for granted and start taking better care of myself.

Coronary heart disease remains the number one killer in the UK and there are around 7 million people living with cardiovascular disease today.

Oooof! It’s big, the biggest in fact, and very hard to get your head around. You’re highly likely to know someone who has or will be effected by heart disease.

It’s a really scary fact but, there’s lots that can be done and that’s why I really like the Wessex Heartbeat challenge. It’s not preachy! It’s approach is so refreshing and it wants you to adjust the little things so over time it adds up and improves your health.

I think the scheme is really great, it’s made me stop and think about what I’m doing every day and how I can make it a little bit better for my body.

Extra incentives

Wessex Heartbeat’s chief executive John Munro has lost five stone, yes a whopping five stone, by making similar changes to those in the challenge. That’s an amazing achievement and really pushes me to embrace the challenge more and adopt more of the advice they are giving.

There’s also an incentive for those that love a competition. The top performing male and female on the challenge will win 12 weeks of personal training with Brightside Personal Training, along with 12 cases of Hildon water to keep them hydrated.

Oh my goodness, I’d love a personal trainer, cross your fingers for my final stats!

If you like the sound of this and want to find out more and register interest for the public 12 Week Challenge, which will take place later in the year following the trial, visit https://www.heartbeat.co.uk/.

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