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Dechox for the British Heart Foundation

British Heart Foundation

Make more time for exercise: BHF's recommendation for the 10 Day Challenge.

February is National Heart Month. This year, people all over the UK will be invited by the British Heart Foundation to take ten minutes each day, for ten days, to make a difference to their heart’s health.

The ’10 Day Challenge’ aims to get all of us making one small change each day for ten days. It couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is swap unhealthy snacks for fruit or vegetables or fit ten more minutes of exercise into your day.

Could you do that? Easy? You can get one simple health challenge from BHF each day from the 16th February by signing up to their 10 Day Challenge HERE.

If that sounds too easy, how about giving up any kind of chocolate for March as part of BHF’s “Dechox”? Once you’ve completed the 10 Day Challenge you’ll be in the right –and righteous – frame of mind to take up this sponsored ‘event’.

All you have to do is pledge to give up chocolate, chocolatey drinks, cakes and ice creams for March.  And the more you raise for heart research by getting sponsorship for your “Dechox” the more chance you have of winning prizes. Raise just £75 and you could win a special heroic Dechox medal. It’s edible, of course.

OK, so giving up chocolate during March won’t be as tough as giving up something that’s actually proven to be physically addictive for Lent or giving it up altogether. But it’s a step in the right direction. And if you find it difficult to forgo those sweet treats then you can get plenty of help from the “Dechox” website HERE. They will even let you nominate friends for days off (on the understanding that it’s mutual we assume) or special treats as long as you are willing to pay a fine on their behalf. So your friends can cheat and still raise money!

But come on! You aren’t that weak, are you? It might be a fun campaign with a handy ‘way out’ but it has a really serious side.  There are a lot of very good reasons to cut down on your sugary, fatty intake.

According to BHF one in four of the UK population is lost to heart and circulatory disease every year and there are currently seven million people in the UK living with the disease. And we all know having a few too many sweet treats can be a real danger to your good health. Chocolate is a high-calorie food and is high in sugars and saturated fat and too much of it can contribute to weight gain, which is a risk factor of cardiovascular disease.

How much is too much chocolate?  Let’s put a little perspective on it. The BHF tell us that one chocolate bar averages 250kcal. This is equivalent to around 10% of a man’s and 12% of a woman’s recommended daily intake. In order to lose the energy from just one chocolate bar, someone who is 50 would have to walk for at least 45 minutes. Think about it and it soon begins to add up.

Now where did you put those walking boots?

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