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Blog posts tagged with 'Exercise'

Clearing the Heart’s Highways for Healthy Blood Pressure Support

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Clearing the Heart’s Highways for Healthy Blood Pressure SupportYour veins and arteries are the highways of your heart, carrying fresh, oxygenated blood to the rest of your body while bringing deoxygenated blood back to the heart to be recycled. Blood pressure is the force in which blood flows through the arteries. It’s normal for your blood pressure to rise during strenuous activity, such as exercise, and fall when you’re resting or asleep. Consistently high blood pressure, however, means that your heart is working extra hard to pump blood around your body all the time, which can be stressful on the heart, veins, and arteries.

Under Pressure from Numbers

When the heart beats, the force it creates as blood flows through the arteries is called your systolic measurement. This is the first number you will see on blood pressure measurement (BPM) results, which is the higher number. The second number in BPM is called the diastolic measurement. This number represents the pressure exerted by blood flowing through your arteries when your heart is at rest or between beats. The average BPM should be below 120/80. Readings that are slightly higher do not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure, but it does indicate that you have a higher risk of developing heart health challenges.

External Pressures Can Raise Your Internal Pressure

Tobacco use can contribute to an unhealthy heart and high blood pressure by narrowing the blood vessels, making it even more difficult for blood to circulate. Excessive alcohol intake (more than two drinks a day) can also raise blood pressure readings. The last factor affecting blood pressure is a big one: stress. Quitting smoking and curbing drinking habits can be manageable with the right assistance, but stress can be trickier to deal with. While avoiding all stress is impossible, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, massage, and yoga may help ease your worries—and your heart.

Everyday Aids to Your Heart’s Roadways

There are many ways you can easily begin to protect your heart and support healthy blood pressure levels, and some tips are as easy as adding more fruit and vegetables to your meals. Fresh fruit and veggies are low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and high in potassium, magnesium, and fiber that have been linked to good heart health. The antioxidant, CoQ10, as well as omega fatty acids have also been found to promote healthy blood pressure levels and provide circulation support. Exercising is another top way to promote a healthy cardiovascular system. Gentle exercises such as walking, stretching, and swimming are all ways to keep you active and moving, which aids healthy circulation and helps the body utilize oxygen more efficiently. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program or ask your physician to help you find a suitable program that matches your level of fitness condition. The journey towards healthier blood pressure doesn’t require drastic measures—all it takes is better nutrition, regular exercise, and cutting back on bad habits. The benefits of consistent, healthy habits add up over time and can not only help you improve your current lifestyle, but can put you on the path towards overall better living throughout your lifetime.


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Proper Nutrition to Fuel Your Exercise

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Proper Nutrition to Fuel Your ExerciseRegular exercise is the corner-stone of building a healthy body and maintaining proper weight management. However, exercise puts your body to the test and getting the healthy energy needed to perform your best requires the proper pre-exercise nutrition. Whether you’re exercising to stay in shape or a top-level competitor, fueling your body with the proper nutrition before you exercise is vital in achieving any fitness goals.

Carbohydrate and Protein Importance

So what are the best ways to supply your body with energy for exercise? Fueling for exercise requires good quality carbohydrates, lean-proteins, and continual hydration. Good examples of quality carbohydrates include foods like breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables. All these provide a quick energy source to help your body throughout your exercise routine. Proteins are also vital to building and maintaining muscles as well as supplying healthy blood cells with the fuel they need. Blood cells are important for delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles in the body during exercise.

The Eye Test and Common Sense

Characteristics for a healthy pre-exercise meal should include:

  • Low in fat
  • Moderate in carbohydrates and protein
  • Low in fiber
  • Easily digestible

Any greasy or fried food is not quality fuel for your body, so when in doubt, go with the eye-test, if it looks heavy and greasy, then it’s not for you.

Cooling and Fueling

Similar to a car, food provides the gas to the body’s engine and in turn water (fluids) is the coolant that helps keep the body at a healthy temperature while functioning. Soft drinks or anything with significant dairy content are fluids to stay away from. Without proper hydration during exercise your body temperature can reach dangerously high levels. It is recommended that you should consume up to 16 ounces of water (2 cups) before engaging in exercise and always monitor your hydration. To further a balanced diet and help your body run as efficiently as possible when exercising it is important to supplement your intake with vitamins and minerals to ensure a balanced diet. A daily multivitamin taken each day can assist you in receiving the daily allowances necessary to help you with the energy needed to fuel your work out which will ultimately lead you on a path of good overall health!

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Brisk Walking Is Just as Good for Heart Health as Running

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Brisk Walking Is Just as Good for Heart Health as RunningRunning is one of the best exercises you can do for heart health. Studies show that regular running workouts can help support blood pressure, cholesterol, and even blood sugar management. Running isn't for everyone, however, especially if you have weak bones and joints because the impact can cause even more discomfort. The good news is that researchers have found that brisk walking can be equally effective.

Go for Distance

Based on data collected from about 33,000 runners and 16,000 walkers between the ages of 18 and 80, researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Hartford Hospital discovered that walkers and runners both had lower risks of developing blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and heart health challenges. In fact, walkers fared slightly better in reducing these risk factors than runners.

  • High blood pressure risk decreased 4.2% percent in runners, 7.2% in walkers
  • High cholesterol risk decreased 4.3% in runners, 7% in walkers
  • High blood sugar risk decreased 12.1% in runners, 12.3% in walkers
  • Heart disease risk decreased 4.5% in runners, 9.3% in walkers

More detailed results can be found in the full study, published in the April edition of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. According to Paul Williams, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, the distance covered while walking or running mattered more than the length of the workout. In this instance, running is more advantageous because more distance can be covered, but Williams and his research partner, Dr. Paul Thompson, agree that brisk walking—as opposed to leisurely strolling—can be just as effective as long as you cover the distance you normally would if running.

Regular Exercise Reduces Health Risks

The other great thing about walking is that practically anyone can do it. You don't need a gym membership or expensive equipment; all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes and clothing, and a route you can safely navigate that covers a respectable workout distance. Whether you prefer walking or running, the American Heart Association recommends engaging in regular physical activity to help reduce heart health risks and promote a healthier general lifestyle. In addition to exercise, healthy eating also plays a part in your overall wellness. After all, it makes little sense to exercise frequently if you continue to consume a high-fat diet every day, too.

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Celebrate Heart Health Awareness Month by Making the Right Choices for Your Future

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Celebrate Heart Health Awareness Month by Making the Right Choices for Your FutureWe use the heart to symbolize the most important aspect of something, and with good reason. A healthy heart is the embodiment of good overall health. With February being National Heart Health Month now is a great time to take stock in your future by caring for your heart in the present. Heart health should always be a major concern for adults. It significantly shapes the well-being of our population and, consequently, neglecting the health of our hearts has become a significant financial burden on our health care system.

What Can You Do?

The road to a healthier heart begins with each individual taking the necessary steps towards improving their well-being. It starts and continues each day with healthy living and an active lifestyle. During this month of February, in honor of National Heart Health month, take the time to assess your heart and your overall health. It may seem daunting, but there are some simple tips to help get you started.

  • Maintain a balanced healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly, a minimum of 30 minutes per day
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Receive regular and necessary checkups

Let February Be Your Start

Let this February be the catalyst that helps you get on the road to a healthier heart. Implementing these 4 steps to your routine can seem like a lot, but taking it one day at a time and making the right healthy choices can set you on a path for better long-term health. In addition to the 4 steps above, you can also supplement your diet with additional heart health nutrients you may be lacking in your day-to-day meals. Many of us don’t have the time or the means to make the healthy choice in the moment every time. Taking a daily multivitamin can be the foundation in helping you live a healthy and nutritious life. Celebrate National Hearth Health Awareness Month by making sure you and your loved ones are getting the proper care and diet you need to keep not only your heart, but your whole body on track towards a healthy, happy future.

References:

  • Go AS, Mozaffarian D, Roger VL, Benjamin EJ, Berry JD, Borden WB, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2013 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2013; 127(1):e6-e245.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: February Heart Health Awareness Month

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Frailty Not a Necessary Part of Aging

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Frailty Not a Necessary Part of AgingA lot of people associate old age with loss of speed, strength, energy, and mobility; aka frailty. But according to a growing number of physicians—including internist and geriatrician Ava Kaufman—that doesn't have to be the case. "Frailty is not an age, it's a condition," says Kaufman. Like any medical condition, it's characterized by a group of symptoms that occur together. Although the elderly are more susceptible to frailty, old age is not a guarantee that one will end up frail.

Inflammation Increases Risk of Frailty

Americans are living longer, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're living healthier. About 4% of men and 7% of women over age 65 are frail, but that number rises sharply to about 25% after age 85. Women are more likely to be frail because they have less muscle mass and are more prone to bone loss. Researchers believe that there are a number of underlying reasons why an individual can become frail. Inflammation, for example, can weaken bones and muscles. The inability to process glucose can also lead to a buildup of the stress hormone, cortisol, which also damages skeletal muscle and weakens the immune system.

Staying Active Is Key to Being Healthier

However, researchers point out that many preliminary studies show that moderate physical activity may help reduce walking problems and improve mobility. Exercise need not be strenuous, especially if a patient's joints and muscles are already weak. Instead of high-impact jogging, for example, a person can opt for a slow-paced, 30-minute walk and light weights. Many frail individuals are also malnourished, so their bodies lack the basic nutrients to support their bone and muscle health. That's why nutritious eating habits are a must not only for the young and active, but anyone who wants to maintain a long, healthy lifestyle. Age brings greater responsibility and wisdom, but it doesn't have to include weakness and poorer health, especially if you start practicing healthier habits when you're younger.

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