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Cardiologist Dr Edward Barin has established a wonderful new approach to keeping your heart healthy. He calls it the 4-M approach.

1. Move - Keep moving at any age and at any level of fitness. Exercise has many benefits simple fitness and flexibility. It stimulates the body’s immune system, improves brain function and lowers blood pressure. Exercise may even reduce the risk of some forms of cancer. Research in older patients with age-related muscle wasting (also called sarcopenia) has shown that strength training was found to prevent disability, slow down dementia and reduce the risk of accidental falls. Independence and good health in later life are closely related to physical fitness.

2. Meals - Eat Intelligently. Good nutrition extends beyond just controlling your intake of cholesterol, calories and chocolate. There is also great benefit in understanding, for example, the important effects of trans fats (bad for you), and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats(good for you). Or how the body metabolises different carbohydrates (sugars) and the impact this has on weight, diabetes and body fat deposits. Research consistently shows that the right balance between food intake and exercise is vital for optimum weight, fitness and health. Improved nutritional knowledge truly lead to improved health.

3. Measurement - Keep track of your health measurements. This includes cholesterol levels, blood pressure, weight, sugar levels, waist circumference and exercise capacity. For years health workers have understood the value of monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol levels, sugar level and body weight. To this we can now add the importance of measuring heart pump function (ejection fraction), exercise capacity (6 minute walk test), waist circumference, and kidney function, among many others. A close relationship between the family doctor and subject will optimise the way good health is measured and monitored. Managing health without measurements is like ocean racing without a compass.

4. Mental approach - Stay optimistic. Many studies show your state of mind can protect, as well as damage heart health. Important risk factors that may lead to heart disease include stress, anger and depression.They can be as damaging as high cholesterol levels in causing heart disease. Unaccustomed stress such as the loss of a family member can trigger heart attacks in an otherwise well individual. Conversely, a positive state of mind, a supportive community and personal happiness may help reduce the risk of a bad cardiovascular event.

In summary Movement and exercise, intelligent choice of Meals, Measurement of health indicators and maintaining an optimistic Mental attitude (the 4-M approach) form a concise and effective approach to achieving heart health before and after serious illness, at any age. A special thank you to Dr Edward Barin for sharing his ‘4-M approach’ to heart health and Heart Research Australia for providing the content. Heart Research Australia raises funds for research into the treatment and prevention of heart disease and associated medical conditions. For more information, please visit:

*Always read the label, use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.

** Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 7 grams of soluble fibre from psyllium husk, as in Meta products, may lower cholesterol levels. Reductions in cholesterol levels may contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease. Consult a doctor if you are planning to take Meta products as part of a cholesterol lowering program.

^ Whorwell Clinical Trial, UK 2006. Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jul;101(7):1581-90