According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, inactive people are twice as likely to develop heart disease compared to those who are more active. Further, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has found that 60 percent of Americans are not meeting the recommended levels of physical activity.
Breaking the cycle of our daily routine is challenging because of our dedication to our family and to our jobs. Most often, the dedication to our own health suffers as the daily routine of Americans leads to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Stop to consider the long-term consequences of your lifestyle. You are responsible not only for your own health, but also for the health of your loved ones. As role models for young children, your actions shape their experience and their health.
The keys to making healthy lifestyle changes for yourself and loved ones are motivation and dedication. Particularly when it comes to staying fit and active, success comes through finding someone that you can be accountable to, and accountable for. Establish a set of physical fitness and nutrition goals and challenge each other to stay on track. As the winter months grow closer, I encourage you to sit down with family or friends. Together, devise a plan to make important lifestyle changes that will impact not only your health, but also the health of those around you.
As you may recall from a previous article, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The purpose of this month’s article is to encourage you to make nutritional change and regular exercise the core element of YOUR heart disease prevention program.
Just like a balanced diet, a balanced exercise program is the best way to maximize the health benefits to you. Whichever exercises you choose, be sure they build upon your abilities, strengths and most importantly, your interests. Finally, have a game plan. Setting short-term, realistic goals and long-term aspirations ensure you neither burn out physically from over-training, nor burn out mentally from unreasonable expectations. The following are the essentials of a successful exercise program:
- Set aside 30-60 minutes, 5 times per week in which you perform moderate physical activity. To maximize the fat-burning capacity, chose activities that challenge your body. The goal here is to increase your heart rate enough to make you sweat but not so much that you cannot carry on a conversation.
- Add a warm-up, cool down and stretching component to your exercise program to prevent injury and maximize your performance. Warm-up for 5 minutes, perform your exercise, cool-down for 5 minutes and stretch for 5 minutes at the end of your workout. The extra time it takes to exercise properly will come back to you by way of enhanced strength, flexibility and weight loss.
Cut the calories
Eliminating high calorie foods from your diet ensures that the time you spend exercising pays off. Instead of drastic changes in your diet, make small, reasonable modifications and stick to them. Each week, identify a high calorie food in your diet and substitute it with a low calorie, healthy alternative. Examples of smart substitutions include the following:
- Replace sugary sodas and juices with pure water. Aim for at least 6 glasses of pure water per day. In addition to reducing calories, proper hydration maximizes your performance when exercising and allows you to burn more calories per workout.
- Replace white bread with 100% whole wheat breads and pastas. White bread is metabolized in the body as if it were pure sugar – It gets converted to fat and slows weight loss. Further, whole wheat is a superior energy source to white bread and provides the boost you need to get through your workouts. You will workout longer, harder and burn more calories.
Your health is the most important thing in the world. Please contact Independent Nursing Care for more information on preventing heart disease. Please be an advocate for others – Spread the word about heart disease. Encourage others to join you in your quest to stay healthy. The best way to protect against heart disease is to prevent it!
Next month’s article- “Keep The Beat: Your guide to a heart healthy winter”
A balanced diet, and exercise program is the best way to maximize the health benefits to you. Take a few minutes and check out this helpful link below:
Exercise for Everyone: Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy and reducing your risks. (source: CDC)
Average Calories Burned Per Hour of Activity (based on 154lb person):
- Moderate Activity
- Yard Work
- Bicycling (<10mph)
- Walking Slowly
- Gentle weight lifting
- Calories Burned
- Intense Activity
- Bicycling (>10mph)
- Swimming laps
- Heavy yard work
- Heavy weight lifting
- Calories Burned
*Print this chart out and save for reference- click here (PDF 265k)
Source: Adapted from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee