Rheumatoid arthritis treatment: The herbal supplement shown to ease swollen joints

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Rheumatoid arthritis, which affects more than 400,000 people in the UK, is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease happens when the body’s natural defence system can’t tell the difference between your own cells and foreign cells, causing the body to mistakenly attack normal cells. “In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling,” explains the NHS.

When the joints come under attack from the immune system, it can cause joint pain, swelling and stiffness.

According to the NHS, it may also cause more general symptoms, and inflammation in other parts of the body.

The symptoms can vary in their intensity but you may experience flares when your condition deteriorates and your symptoms become worse, says the health body.

Regular flare-ups can greatly diminish your quality of life, impeding your ability to perform even basic tasks.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but this doesn’t mean you have to live with the symptoms.

Evidence has identified a number of natural solutions that can ameliorate the effects of rheumatoid arthritis.

Borage seed oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the borage plants native to the Mediterranean region, has been supported by two notable studies.

In the first trial, 37 people with rheumatoid arthritis were randomly assigned to receive either borage seed oil containing 1.4 grams of GLA or a placebo of cotton seed oil daily for 24 weeks.

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GLA is an essential fatty acid that is found in borage seed oil.

According to Versus Arthritis, the essential fatty acid is important for maintaining a joint’s cell structure and function.

Compared to the placebo group, who showed no improvement during the trial, participants who received borage seed oil showed an improvement in:

  • Joint tenderness
  • Number of swollen joints
  • Morning stiffness.

In the second trial, 56 participants with rheumatoid arthritis were randomly assigned to take either a daily dose of borage seed capsules containing 2.8 g GLA or placebo capsules of sunflower seed oil for six months.

By the end of the study, 64 percent of those on borage seed oil showed improvement in joint tenderness and morning stiffness, compared to only 21 percent of those on placebo treatment.

There was a significant difference in the treatment outcome of the two patient groups in favour of borage seed oil.

General self-help tips

Engaging in regular exercise can also help to alleviate the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

How? “Exercising regularly can help relieve stress, help keep your joints mobile, and strengthen the muscles supporting your joints,” explains the NHS.

As the health body explains, exercise can also help you lose weight if you’re overweight, which can put extra strain on your joints.

According to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis (NRAS), you should talk to a member of your rheumatology team or your GP about what exercise(s) you are considering.

“Think about a goal that exercise may help you to realistically achieve and reward yourself when you achieve your goal,” says the NRAS.

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The need to urinate more at this time of the day may signal prostate cancer

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Prostate cancer is the result of cancerous cells dividing uncontrollably in the prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland in men. It usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs for many years. Symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra), explains the NHS.

When this happens, you may notice a number of changes to your urinary habits.

One telltale sign of advanced prostate cancer is the need to urinate more often, especially at night, according to the American Cancer society (ACS).

Other symptoms include:

  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED)
  • Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that has spread to bones
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord.

According to the ACS, most of these problems are more likely to be caused by something other than prostate cancer.

“For example, trouble urinating is much more often caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous growth of the prostate,” says the health body.

Still, it’s important to flag up any unusual changes with your doctor to rule out prostate cancer, it adds.

How is prostate cancer treated?

Treatment for prostate cancer will depend on your individual circumstances, such as the stage of the cancer.

“When treatment is necessary, the aim is to cure or control the disease so it affects everyday life as little as possible and does not shorten life expectancy,” explains the NHS.

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Sometimes, if the cancer has already spread, the aim is not to cure it but to prolong life and delay symptoms, notes the health body.

Am I at risk?

It’s not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, although a number of things can increase your risk of developing the condition.

Age, ethnicity, genetics and lifestyle factors can all contribute to your risk of prostate cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK, prostate cancer is most prevalent in men aged 75 to 79 years.

Some inherited genes can also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.

“These inherited genes are rare and account for only a small number of prostate cancers,” explains Cancer Research UK.

Evidence also suggests being overweight or obese increases your risk of advanced prostate cancer.

Obese means being very overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, and being overweight means having a BMI of between 25 and 30.

Researchers have found a link between being obese or overweight and cancers being higher grade (faster growing).

According to the NHS, research is ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer, and there is some evidence that a diet high in calcium is linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

What is most important is to focus on your overall dietary approach rather than singling out specific items.

As Cancer Research UK points out, having a healthy and balanced diet can reduce the risk of cancer by helping you keep a healthy weight or lose weight.

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David Seaman health: Former goalie opens about his punctured scrotum – symptoms

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David Seaman’s professional career lasted from 1981 to 2004, although he is best known for his years spent playing for Arsenal. The peak of Seaman’s career was during his period as Arsenal and England goalkeeper in the 90s and early 2000s. He won 75 caps for the England national football team, and is the country’s second-most capped goalkeeper.

At the peak of his success, the sporting legend was subjected to an excruciating injury that would make any man wince.

The goalkeeping legend punctured his scrotum during a collision in the 90s.

Seaman suffered the agonising wound in a duel for the ball against Leeds United striker Lee Chapman while playing for the Gunners in the 1990s.

Despite the devastating blow, the Arsenal goalkeeper came back out to play the second half of the match after having an emergency stitching during the interval.

The torturous episode did not end there, however.

David was ridiculed by Leeds midfielder Gordon Strachan following the traumatic encounter.

But Scotland international Strachan retracted his retort when he realised the pain Seaman had suffered.

“I’ve had all sorts of injuries,’ David told The Athletic on their Handbrake Off podcast.

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He continued: “The ball come across from my left on the ground and as I went out to get it, (Lee) Chapman has come to slide in as well to get it and he actually had his studs start on my knee and go right to my groin area.

“I was in agony on the pitch and I remember it clear as day. I was laying in a crumple and I have got Gordon Strachan right in my face as I am laying on the ground and he goes, ‘Get up you Southern softie!”

He described the nature of the injury in grisly detail, revealing how he knew it was serious when blood started gushing from his underlap.

Testicular trauma – what to look for

The first sign of trauma to the testicle or scrotum is most often severe pain.

The Urology Care Foundation (UCF) explains: “Pain around the testicle may also be due to infection or swelling of the epididymis.”

The epididymis is a tube located at the back of the testicles that stores and carries sperm.

“Because the epididymis has a very thin wall, it easily becomes red and swollen by infection or injury,” says the UCF.

According to the health body, if not treated, in rare cases the blood supply to the testicle can get blocked.

“Men who suffer more than a minor injury to the scrotum should seek care by a urologist,” it advises.

Reasons to seek medical care are:

  • Any penetrating injury to the scrotum
  • Bruising and/or swelling of the scrotum
  • Trouble peeing or blood in the urine
  • Fevers after testicular injury.

Sometimes, what seems to be testicle pain is caused by a problem that starts in the groin, abdomen or somewhere else, notes Mayo Clinic.

“For example, kidney stones and some hernias can cause testicle pain,” adds the health body.

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Ibuprofen and coronavirus: Can you still take cold and flu tablets?

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Coronavirus has now spread to more than 36 million people around the globe, of which more than one million people have died. According to recent research some painkillers may aggravate the deadly infection and therefore people have been advised about which medications to take. So can you still take cold and flu tablets?

Coronavirus has seen several countries around the world descend into states of panic, with lockdowns, travel bans and curfews being put into effect.

Coronavirus cases around the world are growing daily, with the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claiming the number of cases could double every five to six days if nothing is undertaken to curb the spread of the killer virus.

Britons have been advised to undertake social distancing measures, avoid non-essential social contact, large gatherings and unnecessary travel.

To safeguard higher risk grounds, Mr Johnson has called on Britons to work from where possible and to self-isolate for 14 days as a household if any member of the family experiences coronavirus symptoms.

Coronavirus is an illness which hit the UK earlier this year and typically affects your lungs and airways. 

Anyone who has a high temperature or a new and continuous cough is now required to stay at home for 14 days.

However, some people can experience more severe symptoms, such as pneumonia and even organ failure.

The Government asks anyone experiencing symptoms to remain at home and to not seek advice unless symptoms worsens.

Can you take ibuprofen for coronavirus?

Anti-inflammatory drugs can “dampen down the immune system, which may slow the recovery process” claims one UK virologist.

French health minister Olivier Veran – a qualified neurologist – has warned ibuprofen and other medicines known as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) could make things worse.

On Twitter, he wrote: “Taking anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, cortisone, etc.) may be a factor in worsening the infection.

“If you have a fever, take paracetamol. If you are already on anti-inflammatory drugs or if in doubt, ask your doctor for advice.”

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A virologist at the University of Reading said anti-inflammatory drugs can “dampen” the immune system and subsequently slow recovery.

Currently the NHS advice for coronavirus treatment reads: “There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.

“Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.

“Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.

“You’ll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.”

Other people have said paracetamol is better for people with symptoms of the virus.

Dr Tom Wingfield, senior lecturer and consultant physician at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said paracetamol was “preferred” because it is less likely to cause side effects.

He told Sky News: “Side effects associated with NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, especially if taken regularly for a prolonged period, are stomach irritation and stress on the kidneys, which can be more severe in people who already have stomach or kidney issues.

“It is not clear from the French minister’s comments whether the advice given is generic ‘good practice’ guidance or specifically related to data emerging from cases of COVID-19, but this might become clear in due course.”

Can you take cold and flu tablets?

Cold and flu tablets do not cure colds, but there is some evidence that a combination of these tablets can provide some relief.

Cold and flu tablets contain decongestants, pain killers, antihistamines and cough suppressants.

Typically, the most common pain reliever contained in cold and flu medication is paracetamol which helps to ease muscle aches and pains, as well as joint pain, headaches, back pain and period pain.

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Arthritis: The tell-tale sign you have osteoarthritis in the hip joint

Osteoarthritis tends to affect more people than any other type of arthritis. How can you tell if you have this crippling condition – what are the warning signs?

The charity Arthritis Foundation noted osteoarthritis tends to appear in middle age, or due to an injury or obesity.

This condition can affect any joint, but it often appears in the hip joint – affecting more women than men.

The progressive disease has a hereditary link, so if you had a close member of the family with osteoarthritis, you’re more likely to develop it yourself.

Symptoms tend to build up slowly, with the tell-tale sign of osteoarthritis being “pain felt in the groin area or buttocks”.

This is the clear-cut sign of osteoarthritis in the hip joint; pain can also be felt on the inside of the knee or thigh.

Other joints more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis include the knees, fingers and feet.

For people with the condition, there may be a “grafting” or “scraping” feeling when moving the knee.

In addition, the knees may give way – buckling as the joint becomes unstable.

Bony growths – known as spurs – can appear at the edge of joints in the fingers.

This can cause the fingers to become swollen, tender and red, and there may be pain at the base of the thumb.

On the feet, the big toe may feel painful and tender, and the toes may swell, as well as the ankle.

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There may be clicking or cracking sounds when a joint bends, and limited motion that go away after movement.

Joint stiffness usually occurs after waking up in the morning and after periods of rest.

People with this condition “experience as much as 30 percent more falls” than those without osteoarthritis.

A diagnosis can be made once a number of diagnostic tools have been run by a professional.

Tests can include an X-ray and MRI scan to bring to light joint or bone damage.

An additional metros is called “joint aspiration”; this is when fluid is extracted from the joint.

The area will be numbed first, before a needle is inserted to draw out fluid.

This is to look for infection or crystals in the fluid to rule out other medical conditions.

Unfortunately, there’s no cure for osteoarthritis but treatments include medications, exercise, weight loss, and surgery.

If you’re found to have osteoarthritis in the hip, it’s more likely you’ll have surgery down the line.

An orthopaedic surgeon can determine the best treatment based on how basalt the joint is affected.

For more information on any type of arthritis, visit the charity website Arthritis Foundation.

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The single most common ‘long COVID’ symptom explained – ‘It zaps all of my energy’

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that has killed more than one million people across the world. If you develop any of the key coronavirus symptoms, you should get tested for the infection straight away.

The UK has seen a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases over the past few weeks.

Almost 10 million people across the country have been put into local lockdowns, in a bid to stop the rising spread of the infection.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now ordered all pubs and restaurants to shut at 10pm, while nobody should meet with more than five other people for the foreseeable future.

But some coronavirus patients have reported still having symptoms of the virus eight months after their initial infection.

Fatigue is one of the most common warning signs of long COVID, warned social epidemiologist Margot Witvliet.

She developed the condition, and admitted being confused why her coronavirus symptoms weren’t going away.

The signs lingered for more than four months, with fatigue one of the more prominent symptoms, added Witvliet, who is also a professor at Lamar University.

She struggled to spend too much time in the sun, and she constantly felt devoid of energy.

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“My heart still races even though I am resting,” she wrote for The Conversation.

“I cannot stay in the sun for long periods; it zaps all of my energy. I have gastrointestinal problems, ringing in the ears and chest pain.

“I’m what’s known as a long-hauler – part of a growing group of people who have COVID-19 and have never fully recovered.

“Fatigue is one of the most common persistent symptoms, but there are many others, including the cognitive effects people often describe as brain fog.”

But just because you feel unusually fatigued, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have coronavirus.

Feeling tired all of the time is very common, and it’s usually caused by something less serious.

Diabetes, cancer, hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia have all been linked to persistent fatigue.

It may also be caused by a lack of sleep, not doing enough exercise, eating an unbalanced diet, and even boredom.

Meanwhile, a high fever, a new cough, and a change to your sense of smell or taste are the most common early coronavirus symptoms.

In the UK, you should only get tested for the infection if you develop any of these symptoms.

Some patients have also reported a sore throat, headaches, and even hiccups, on top of the more common signs.

More than 41,000 people have died from coronavirus in the UK.

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Lupus symptoms: What is lupus, what are the signs?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means your body’s natural defence system starts to attack your body. It isn’t known what causes lupus, but it has been suggested that viral infections, certain medicines, and sunlight are possible causes. Lupus is often triggered by hormonal changes such as puberty, childbirth and menopause.

What is lupus?

Lupus is a long-term health condition that causes a range of symptoms, from rashes and joint pain.

The condition, also known as systemic lupus erythematosus, is very difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions.

You’ll be diagnosed via blood tests, x-rays and scans and regularly checked if you do have it.

You can’t cure lupus, but there are ways to improve the symptoms.

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Symptoms of lupus

Lupus symptoms range from mild to severe, but the main symptoms are:

  • joint and muscle pain
  • extreme tiredness that will not go away no matter how much you rest
  • rashes – often over the nose and cheeks
  • headaches
  • mouth sores
  • high temperature
  • hair loss
  • sensitivity to light (causing rashes on uncovered skin)

The symptoms of mild lupus are joint and skin problems and tiredness.

Moderate cases of lupus will be expressed through inflammation of other parts of the skin and body such as your lungs, heart and kidneys.

Patients with worse symptoms might experience inflammation that severely damages the heart, lungs, brain or kidneys.

Lupus is life-threatening if you have a severe bout of it. However, the symptoms tend to come and go but lupus often flares up every now and then.

What triggers lupus isn’t known for certain, but it has been suggested that stress, overwork, and excessive sun exposure could cause flare ups.

Other triggers include emotional stress, infections, injury, and changes in medication.

However, some cases never settle down and symptoms are constant.

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How to cure lupus

You can’t cure lupus, but you will be prescribed medicines to control symptoms and progression of the illness.

It’s important to wear high-factor sunscreen every day to avoid further inflammation.

Luckily, you can get suncream on prescription if you have lupus.

You should wear a sun hat when it’s particularly sunny.

If tiredness is a symptom for you, you should learn to pace yourself throughout the day.

However, it’s still important to stay active so continuous movement will help.

You should try relaxation techniques to decrease stress levels and improve inflammation.

A healthy diet packed with vitamin D and calcium will also manage the pain and other symptoms.

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Heart attack symptoms – the warning sign on your skin to watch out for

Heart attacks happen when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked. Without enough blood and oxygen your heart can be seriously damaged. A buildup of fatty plaques called cholesterol is usually responsible for the blockage.

It is imperative to act on the warning signs of a heart attack as soon as they show up.

A quick response can minimise the damage inflicted on the heart muscle, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Unfortunately, a dearth of knowledge regarding the symptoms associated with heart attacks often result in critical delays.

Most people are aware of the chest pain that can be experienced when having a heart attack.

There are a range of symptoms that can spring up independent of chest pain, however.

Suddenly breaking into a sweat with cold, clammy skin may signal you are having a heart attack, according to Mayo Clinic.

Other lesser-known signs include:

  • Stomach pain. Pain may extend downward into your abdominal area and may feel like heartburn.
  • Shortness of breath. You may pant for breath or try to take in deep breaths. This often occurs before you develop chest discomfort, or you may not experience any chest discomfort.
  • Anxiety. You may feel a sense of doom or feel as if you’re having a panic attack for no apparent reason.
  • Lightheadedness. In addition to feeling chest pressure, you may feel dizzy or feel like you might pass out.
  • Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
  • Heart palpitations. You may feel as if your heart is skipping beats, or you may just be very aware that your heart is beating.

Although chest pain is a widely recognised symptom, many people may not know the specifics involved.

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As the BHF explains, chest pain may feel like pressure, squeezing or heaviness in your chest.

It may spread to your left or right arm or may spread to your neck, jaw, back or stomach, notes the health body.

Pain levels can also vary from person to person.

“For some people the pain or tightness in their chest is severe, while other people just feel uncomfortable, or pain similar to indigestion,” explains the BHF.

How to respond

“If you suspect the symptoms of a heart attack, call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance,” advises the NHS.

Do not worry if you have doubts – paramedics would rather be called out to find an honest mistake has been made than be too late to save a person’s life, says the health body.

“If you have had a heart attack, it’s important that you rest while you wait for an ambulance, to avoid unnecessary strain on your heart,” it adds.

How to prevent a heart attack

Prevention is always more important than reaction and making lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent having a heart attack.

A healthy diet is one of the best weapons you have against a heart attack.

The food you eat and the amount can either raise or reduce your risk of the many precursors to having a heart attack, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

“Choose nutrient-rich foods — which have vitamins, minerals, fibre and other nutrients but are lower in calories — over nutrient-poor foods,” advised the American Heart Association (AHA).

“Choose a diet that emphasises intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, nontropical vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats,” it adds.

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Angela Rippon health: Award-winning broadcaster’s shock at health diagnosis

Keeping herself trim, Angela was shocked to discover that she wasn’t in tip-toe shape like she thought. Starring in a BBC documentary, the Plymouth-born presenter found out her belly was full of fat.

The 75-year-old underwent an MRI scan back in 2016, while being filmed for the two-part BBC documentary How to Stay Young.

It was then the discovery was made that Angela had high levels of visceral fat.

Visceral fat is recognised as a health risk by WebMD, connected to heart disease, Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes.

Other noteworthy conditions linked to high visceral fat levels include stroke and high cholesterol.

This type of body fat, that differs from the bits of jiggly skin you can pinch, is known to be inflammatory.

Acting as a hormone, visceral fat can narrow blood vessels and trigger high blood pressure.

Pointing towards the mysterious mass surrounding Angela’s abdominal organs, Professor Jimmy Bell stated: “This is visceral fat.”

The Professor of Medicine, at Imperial College London, added: “You have between six and seven litres. The average is two.”

Horrified, Angela is living proof that you may appear slim on the outside but your insides could reveal a different story.

What causes visceral fat?

Medical News Today cited a “poor diet” as a contributing factor to visceral fat.

This includes eating sugary foods, such as cakes and candy, as well as drinking soda and fruit juice.

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Such a high-sugar diet can “reduce a person’s ability to burn fat” – are you guilty of this?

Another culprit could be consuming excess alcohol, which can further inflammation in the body.

The NHS guidelines suggest drinking no more than 14 units in one week – and consistently having alcohol-free days.

Stress and poor sleep are also said to be factors that influence a person’s belly fat.

Most people won’t have the privilege of undergoing an MRI scan to measure their visceral fat levels.

However, there is an accurate way to do so without forking out a fortune.

Grab a clothing tape measure (the flexible kind), and wrap it around your waist in line with your navel.

Make sure you’re breathing normally, and the tape isn’t pressing too tightly against your skin.

The ideal measurement goes as follows: for women, it’s 31.5 inches or less; for men, it’s 37 inches or less.

If you exceed either of these measurements, there are things you can do to burn off the excess belly fat.

For example, you can improve your diet by avoiding sugar and fatty foods, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Moreover, you can increase how much you exercise, by intensity and duration.

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A seemingly harmless pastime could contribute to heart disease – Here’s how to avoid it

If you’re suffering from chest pain, shortness of breath or fainting, seek emergency medical care – it could be signs of heart disease. Are you at risk?

Heart Research UK reported “there is evidence to show that prolonged periods of sitting can increase your risk of developing heart disease”.

It’s fairly common for people to lead a more sedentary lifestyle nowadays – here’s how.

Lots of jobs involve sitting at a desk, or sitting down in a vehicle for extended periods of time – especially when there’s traffic.

Leisure time can include sitting in front of the television or playing computer games.

People even sit down while tinkering with their mobiles, or chatting on the phone.

To help reduce your risk of heart disease, Heart Research UK have come up with five strategies to get yourself moving.

The first tip is to “take regular breaks from your seat” – this can involve taking a walk around the block every hour (if possible).

Adding in a few more steps in your everyday routine can add up to long-term benefits down the line.

If you’re on a TV show binge, pause it before the next show comes on – you can use that time to climb up and down the stairs, dance in the living room or do some star jumps.

You may feel silly at first, but these short bursts of activities can really make a positive difference on your health.

It may feel daft, but if it puts a smile on your face, is it really that bad?

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The next tip is pointed towards office workers who may feel chained to their desks.

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People who used to cycle, walk or take public transport aren’t moving their body as much as they used to.

All these pockets of inactivity add up, which could increase your weight, and put your health at risk.

Set a timer at home to remind yourself to walk away from the desk (or wherever you’re positioned to work).

Have you considered setting yourself a five-minute chore list you can complete every hour on the hour?

This can include household tasks such as hanging laundry, hoovering or cleaning windows.

Taking a call? Seize the opportunity to walk around and do some squats and lunges.

If your hobbies include reading, needlework or computer games – they all involve sitting down for far too long – then try a new hobby.

Is there a cycling group where you live? Or a walking group? Fancy a hand at DIY or getting green thumbs? Focus on activities that get you moving.

The last tip is to walk or cycle to your nearby shops, as carrying shopping counts as exercise.

Moreover, why not go old-school – ditch online shopping and treat yourself in a shopping centre.

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