A healthy lifestyle is no guarantee that you will avoid ill health. However, there are some lifestyle features that can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. If you have heart disease, these lifestyle factors can improve your recovery and help to maintain a healthier heart.

Healthy Heart Lifestyle Facts

Smoking cessation

Smoking cessation has been shown to have a dramatic benefit in improving your heart health. Some of these benefits develop very quickly after weeks of becoming a non-smoker. Other benefits, such as reducing the development of coronary artery disease, take much longer to appear. You should seek advice from your GP, who will advise you on available smoking cessation programmes and medication aids.


A diet that is low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated fat is recommended for those at risk of coronary artery disease. Lowering the amount of simple carbohydrates and eating more fruit and vegetables can also help maintain a healthier heart. Dieting to assist with weight loss can also benefit your heart health. Your GP can arrange a referral for you to see a dietitian for more specific dietary advice


Regular moderate exercise has been shown to benefit your heart health. It is recommended that you remain physically active throughout the day and take regular aerobic exercise (e.g. walking, running, cycling, swimming) for 30-40 minutes, three times a week. Resistance training (e.g. weight training) is also recommended, especially in the older age group, to maintain muscle mass. Regular exercise is generally safe even if you have heart disease. You should discuss any exercise restrictions with your cardiologist.

Weight loss

Maintaining a healthy bodyweight can also help maintain a healthy heart. A body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 25 is considered to be healthy. If your BMI is over 25, weight loss (with diet and exercise) could help improve your heart health. Your GP and dietitian can provide you with more specific advice to ensure a safe weight loss programme.