The Heart – Small Muscle, Lots Of Movement
Our heart is a wonder in endurance. In a life span of 80 years, it beats some three-billion times. It’s never allowed to take a break though, because even a small stuttering can be life threatening.
Xiaoqian, the protagonist of this year’s annual report, knows all about what you should do to keep your heart healthy. As tireless and resilient as the heart is, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the most common causes of death in adults. The reasons why a heart suffers are manifold: little movement, fattening foods, alcohol, nicotine and medications are just a few of them. But psychological stress can also overwhelm our hearts.For Xiaoqian, a healthy lifestyle is a real affair of the heart. She doesn’t only place value on a balanced diet, but also on plenty of movement. She regularly boxes her stress and tension away.
„Twice per week, I go to the gym – one hour of strength training and one hour of boxing with my personal trainer. I treat myself to this luxury.“
At the beginning, above all, she wanted to get her body into shape, says the 30-year-old Human Resources Manager from Shanghai. “These days, I can no longer go without such exercise – Regardless whether I am stressed out at work or other things are weighing me down, after my boxing training, I always feel liberated and like a new person.”
Xiaoqian is also very active and incorporates plenty of movement into her day-to-day. On the days on which she doesn’t train, she exits the metro earlier and walks home forty minutes, or she indulges in an extensive evening stroll with both of her dogs.
“I know lots of people who prefer to relax in front of the television,” says Xiaoqian. “That’s not for me. I have to physically exert myself.” She knows that with this attitude, she is creating the best conditions for a healthy heart all the way into old age.
The same applies to a nutritious, balanced diet. Her 93-year-old grandma is her biggest role model. “She looks like she is 70 and is incredibly fit. I want to age just like her.” Xiaoqian loves buying fresh vegetables with her at the market. When she cooks, she tries to stick to seasonal ingredients and eats lots of vegetables, sometimes fish and hardly any pork. Smoking, one of the biggest risk factors for heart diseases, is an absolute taboo for her. “I do have a weakness though”, she admits while laughing: “I love cake.”