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Helping keep North Manchester's hearts healthy

What better way to brighten everyone’s mood on a rainy day in Harpurhey than a free heart health check, followed by a fun and interactive group dance session?


Well, that’s exactly what Afrocats got up to last week as we teamed up with dance practitioner Nessa with support from Cancer Care Diaspora and Manchester Local Care Organisation - and boy did everyone have a blast!


Ethnic background can play a part in affecting blood pressure, and many of our participants are of Afro-Caribbean or South Asian heritage - groups which are more likely to experience complications from the condition such as higher risk of serious hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.


So it’s super important to get checked regularly to make sure it’s not too high, and to speak to your GP if you’re worried about your blood pressure and overall heart health.

 Blood pressure checks can feel daunting, but here are some tips to make sure you get an accurate reading:


  • Don't drink any tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, or smoke for half an hour before the test.

  • Relax! Sit still and quietly for five minutes before the test – if you move or speak a lot, this can affect the reading. 

  • Make sure the cuff covers around 80% of your upper arm, and it should be placed over bare skin, not clothing.

  • Have your blood pressure taken twice. If the readings differ by five points or more, have it taken a third time to be certain.


See, nothing to it. And now for the fun part – DANCING!


The session was led by the energetic and excellent Nessa, who said:


‘I want the participants to memorise some of the dance moves that I’ll teach them today – and for them to have fun, of course!’


The group warmed up with some stretches, and were able to let loose to Afrobeats and Latin music to bring a little tropical sunshine to what was very much a damp and drizzly February day across the city of Manchester.


Dance (and exercise in general) is fantastic for keeping blood pressure down as it gives off endorphins, and releases build-up of stress from throughout the day.


And when with a group of friends, you can release your worries and have a laugh together, which are all great ways to boost your sense of community and connection, in turn benefitting your heart health in a world full of persistent stresses and strains.


Participant Ngozi even led everyone through some moves of her own. Save The Last Dance doesn’t have anything on you, girl!

To finish, everyone wrapped up with some cool-down stretches, bodies feeling a little happier having shaken off some tension, and feeling ready to take on the weekend.


Keep your hearts healthy North Manchester – we’ll be seeing you soon for more heart checks and dance-offs!

To help us continue making a difference in the lives of vulnerable people, donate here.


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