February is American Heart Month and it is an excellent opportunity for us to educate people we care about how our behavior affects our heart health. Lifestyle changes have the most significant impact. Giving up smoking, eating a healthy diet, and having a regular exercise routine is essential to lowering your risk of CVD. We recognize the challenges of making and sticking to such changes. The older you are (and therefore the longer you’ve had unhealthy habits), the more difficult it is to change.
We recommend making one change every one to two weeks to improve your heart health because trying to change your entire lifestyle all at once will most likely lead to failure, even for the “all or nothing” types. Make sure you begin the least difficult changes. You will be encouraged by the way you feel, and you will be excited to make other, more difficult changes.
These changes will not only improve the health of your heart and decrease your risk of heart disease but will improve your body composition (lose body fat, gain muscle) and lead to overall better health and performance.
Start treating your heart better today with these nutrition and exercise recommendations:
#1 Eat a “heart-healthy” diet.
Include fresh vegetables or fruit at every meal.
Choose complex carbohydrates (old-fashioned oatmeal, lentils, sweet potatoes, etc.) over simple carbs (cereal, bread/rolls, pancakes, instant oatmeal).
Eat lean sources of protein like fish, turkey, and chicken.
Avoid fatty cuts of beef and eliminate processed “meat” like sausage, bacon, and cold cuts.
Reduce intake of processed foods that contain high amounts of sodium, trans fats, sugar, and other harmful ingredients.
# 2 Exercise regularly.
For Overall Cardiovascular Health, the AHA recommends*:
At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week for a total of 150 minutes.
At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise at least three days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least two days per week for additional health benefits.
For Lowering Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
An average of 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 or 4 times per week
*American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults
Bottom line: Take care of your heart. It’s the only one you get!
THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL Marty Musikant
Whether you want to live a long healthy, active life or you are a competitive athlete or you are a weekend warrior or you are about to have a major surgery…one thing that is NOT OPTIONAL – Strength Training.
If you don’t use it, you will lose it!
Why strength training?
- Keeps you YOUNG! If there is such a thing as a Fountain of Youth it’s lifting weights. As we age our muscles start to atrophy causing everything from weakness leading to losing our independence to having injuries to having rounded kyphotic posture to not being able to do the things we want to do in life.
- Builds Bone! You’ll reduce your risk of a number of diseases including Osteoporosis and Osteopenia. Having strong bones is such an important factor in keeping yourself healthy!
- It revs your metabolism! Adding muscle which is metabolically active tissue burns more calories. Every pound of muscle you add will boost your metabolism making it easier to maintain or improve your body composition.
- Strong people are harder to kill. Bottom line. Having extra muscle as you are heading into a diagnosis, surgery or any medical setback (Covid?) makes you that much more resilient and sets you up to come through it stronger and get back to life faster than you would if you didn’t do strength training.
Don’t put it off until it is too late! Start building strength now.
“I’ll start after I have my knee surgery.”
Nope. Start now! The stronger your body is heading into that surgery the better you’ll come out of it!