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Archive for the ‘heart health’ Category

You’d like to mingle more with your co-workers, but every opportunity seems centered around eating and drinking. Don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to integrate your healthy lifestyle with your on-the-job social life, enabling you to boost your social capital while staying true to your health goals.

Studies show that healthy habits are strongly influenced by the people we spend time with, for better or for worse. Don’t let your co-workers’ negative health habits bring you down. Instead, be a positive role model for an active, healthy lifestyle and help build a corporate culture of health from the ground up.

Go For a Walk

  • Invite a co-worker to join you for a quick walk instead of a coffee or smoke break. You’ll have a chance to catch up on work or personal matters, and return to your work stations reenergized and focusing on the tasks at hand. Even a 15-minute walk can do wonders for your mood and creativity.
  • If you have a standing 1:1 meeting, suggest making it a walking meeting and reap the benefits of physical activity while getting the job done.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible and others will likely follow your example.
  • Take it one step further and organize a workplace walking group. Meet before or after work, during breaks or at lunch time for fun, fitness, and camaraderie.
  • Bring your lunches to a nearby park or other outdoor area. After eating, enjoy a walk together.
  • Visit a local bookstore, art gallery, or museum during your lunch break.

Team Training

  • Join a company-sponsored or community sports league and have fun playing basketball, softball, hockey or soccer with your work team.
  • Find a local fitness event, such as a 5K walk/run, walk-a-thon, or sprint triathlon and invite your colleagues to train together for the upcoming event.
  • If your workplace has an onsite gym or fitness classes, or if a nearby gym offers a corporate discount, participate.  It’s a great way to meet like-minded co-workers.
  • Help organize and promote an internal fitness event: Climb stairs to benefit a charity or create a pedometer step challenge.
  • Bicycle or walk to work. Find other employees who get to work on foot or on wheels and commute in together, if possible.
  • Take 2-minute stretch breaks throughout the day together.

Just For Fun

  • Organize a potluck, but bring a healthy dish to share and pay attention to your portion sizes.
  • Play Frisbee® or freeze tag on your lunch break.
  • Organize a weekend company day hike or volunteer to help organize active games at the employee picnic.
  • Volunteer as a work team to plant trees, clean up a park or walk dogs at the animal shelter.
  • If unwinding at a pub after work is part of your workplace culture, join in once in a while. Practice moderation, and if you don’t want to drink, order a sparkling water or orange juice.
  • Invite co-workers to your home for a barbeque and a backyard Badminton tournament.
  • Start an employee bowling league.
  • Invite a co-worker to join you for an after-work run, bicycle ride, or game of racquetball.

Social Success

Developing good relationships with the people you work with is important, not just for your career, but for your health. Don’t let your commitment to good health stop you from getting to know your co-workers. Take the initiative to be active at work and encourage others to join in. When you inspire your co-workers to make physical activity a priority, you create even more of the social support you need to keep yourself moving.

Original Article: https://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/3223/20-active-ways-to-be-social-at-work/

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16851992Walking is low-risk and easy to start. It can help keep you fit and reduce your risk of serious diseases, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more.

A regular walking program can also:

American Heart Association recommends that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Even short 10 minute activity sessions can be added up over the week to reach this goal. If you would benefit from lowering your blood pressure or cholesterol, aim for 40 minute sessions of moderate to vigorous activity 3 to 4 times a week. You could do this by walking 2 miles briskly (about 4 miles/hr). If that’s too fast, choose a more comfortable pace.

Get ready

All you need to get started are comfortable clothes and supportive shoes. Layer loose clothing, keeping in mind that brisk exercise elevates the body’s temperature. Shoes designed for walking or running are best. Make sure you have a little wiggle room between your longest toe (1/2″) and the end of the shoe. Avoid cotton socks since they retain moisture and can promote blisters.

Work on your technique

  • Begin with short distances. Start with a stroll that feels comfortable (perhaps 5-10 minutes) and gradually increase your time or distance each week by 10-20 percent by adding a few minutes or blocks. If it’s easier on your joints and your schedule to take a couple of 10- to 20-minute walks instead of one long walk, do it!
  • Focus on posture. Keep your head lifted, tummy pulled in and shoulders relaxed. Swing your arms naturally. Avoid carrying hand weights since they put extra stress on your elbows and shoulders. Don’t overstride. Select a comfortable, natural step length. If you want to move faster, pull your back leg through more quickly.
  • Breathe deeply. If you can’t talk or catch your breath while walking, slow down. At first, forget about walking speed. Just get out there and walk!

Pick up the pace

To warm up, walk at an easy tempo for the first several minutes. Then gradually adopt a more purposeful pace. A good way to add variety is to incorporate some brisk intervals. For example, walk one block fast, two blocks slow and repeat several times. Gradually add more fast intervals with shorter recovery periods. Concentrate on increasing your speed while maintaining good posture.

Walking hills is a great way to tone your legs. Using Nordic walking poles can help your burn more calories and give you better posture and overall muscle endurance. Treadmill walking, while not as scenic, can be convenient during bad weather.

The end of your walk is an ideal time to stretch since your body is warmed up. Stretch your hamstrings and calves as well as your chest, shoulders and back. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Track your progress. Although experts recommend walking at least 30 minutes a day, there are no hard and fast rules. Walking 60 minutes/day and brisk intervals will help you burn more calories. Fit walking into your schedule whenever you can. That may mean three 10-minute walks over the course of a day. The best schedule is one that keeps you walking and keeps you fit!

Be safe

  • Avoid traffic accidents. Listening to lively music while you walk is a great way to energize your workout. But if you wear headphones, keep the volume down and watch out for traffic that you may not hear. Wear light colors or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight or glow stick if you walk when visibility is low.
  • Walking on sidewalks is best, but if you have to walk on the street, stick to streets with lower speed limits. Faster streets are riskier because motorists are less likely to see pedestrians and cannot stop as quickly. Accidents involving pedestrians have an 85 percent chance of becoming fatal if the car is moving at 40 mph as compared to only 5 percent if the speed is 20 mph.
  • Know your area. Pay attention to what businesses are open in the area you’ll be walking and know the location of emergency telephones. Walk on well-traveled streets rather than taking shortcuts in less crowded areas such as alleys or parking lots. If you give the message that you are calm, self-assured and have a purposeful gait, you’ll lower your chances of becoming a victim.
  • Two heads are better than one. Walking with a partner or in groups discourages crime and may help alert you to dangers such as speeding motorists or unleashed dogs.

If you experience foot, knee, hip or back pain when walking, STOP and check with your doctor to find out the cause. You may need special exercises or better shoes. If you have osteoarthritis and experience increased joint pain lasting an hour or two after walking, consider an alternate activity like stationery cycling or water exercise. But don’t stop exercising!

Source: Walking 101

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8295214_XXLMorning, midday or midnight — when’s the best time to work out?

Well, that depends on when’s the best time for you.

“The best time of the day is when you will do it most consistently, because the benefits of physical activity are tightly linked to the amount you do on a consistent basis,” said Russell Pate, Ph.D., professor of exercise science in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Your best time is based on a “constellation” of factors:

  • location,
  • time of day,
  • type of physical activity and
  • social setting, among others.

“It’s not just what time, but what activity, with whom and where,” said Pate, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer. “This mix of factors for people come together to result in being consistent.”

Everybody’s Different

“Different people will have different preferences and predispositions with regard to how they respond to exercise at different times of the day,” Pate said.

For example, if you’re much more likely to work out consistently with a partner, “then you’re better off to opt for a social part regardless of the time of day,” Pate said. “On the other hand, some people like the solitude, the chance to get away.”

You might have heard that the best time to work out is early in the morning — to get your metabolism revving or to avoid unexpected distractions during the day that could derail your regimen. “Are there differences in working out at different times of the day? Maybe. But those differences would be minor compared to the overall effect of doing it consistently,” Pate said.

“If you’re not a morning person, it does no good for you to try to get up at 5 in the morning to work out,” he said. “Try to stack as many cards on your side of the table as possible by doing what’s most likely to work for you. The converse is, don’t make it as hard as it doesn’t have to be.”

Fit in Fitness

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. But what if you’re tight on time? Then, be creative and break up your activity into daily bouts of 3-10-minute increments.

For example:

  • In the morning, park 10 minutes away from the job and walk briskly.
  • At lunch, walk 10 minutes in or around where you work.
  • In the afternoon/evening, walk briskly 10 minutes back to your vehicle.

And there you have a 30-minute workout!

“Accumulation across the day doesn’t have to be performed in one bout, but can be across the day,” Pate said. “More is better, but we’re absolutely certain even modest amounts are much better than being sedentary.” And remember, “exercise” is any kind of physical activity that gets your heart rate up for at least 10 minutes at a time.

So get moving — at the time that’s right for you!

Source: When is the best time of day to work out?

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Our farmers produce more food than we need to feed America. Unfortunately, the generous supply of vegetables and fruits in this country is often taken for granted by many who have easy access to it. In fact, a National Resources Defense Council report finds that roughly 40 percent of all edible food produced in America is not eaten. Based on food and beverages thrown out, up to $2,275 is wasted each year by a typical family of four in this country.

Fresh foods make up most of the discarded food. The average American wastes about 20 percent of the vegetables and 15 percent of the fruits inside and outside of the home, numbers that are higher than the previous generation. Properly storing fruits and vegetables is important in getting the most out of your produce. Keeping heart-healthy produce fresh prevents waste and will help save money. Learn how to stretch your budget with this infographic.

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16851992Walking is the most popular form of exercise and offers great health benefits, even if it doesn’t burn as many calories as running or other more intense forms of exercise. But a new study has some encouraging news: The equations commonly used to predict the number of calories burned during walking count too few calories in nearly all cases on level surfaces.

Here’s why: Standardized equations commonly used to predict or estimate walking energy expenditure assume that one size fits all. Plus, the equations, which have been in place for close to half a century, were based on data from a limited number of people.

A new study at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, found that under firm, level ground conditions, the most commonly used standards are relatively inaccurate and have significant bias. The standards predicted too few calories burned in 97 percent of the cases researchers examined, said SMU physiologist Dr. Lindsay Ludlow.

A new standardized equation developed by SMU scientists, however, is about four times more accurate for adults and kids together, and about two to three times more accurate for adults only, Ludlow said.

“Our new equation is formulated to apply regardless of the height, weight and speed of the walker,” said Ludlow, a researcher in the SMU Locomotor Performance Laboratory of biomechanics expert Dr. Peter Weyand. “And it’s appreciably more accurate.” Study results, along with the new equation, were published earlier this year in The Journal of Applied Physiology.

“The economy of level walking is a lot like shipping packages,” explains Weyand. “There is an economy of scale. Big people get better gas mileage when fuel economy is expressed on a per-pound basis.”

The SMU equation predicts the calories burned as a person walks on a firm, level surface. Ongoing research is expanding the algorithm to predict the calories burned while walking up- and downhill, and while carrying loads, Ludlow says.

The research comes at a time when greater accuracy combined with mobile technology, such as wearable sensors like Fitbit, is increasingly being used in real time to monitor the body’s status. The researchers note that some devices use the old standardized equations, while others use a different method to estimate the calories burned.

NEW EQUATION CONSIDERS DIFFERENT-SIZED PEOPLE

To provide a comprehensive test of the leading standards, SMU researchers compiled a database using the extensive walking metabolism data available in the existing scientific literature to evaluate the leading equations for walking on level ground.

“The SMU approach improves upon the existing standards by including different-sized individuals and drawing on a larger database for equation formulation,” Weyand explains.

The new equation achieves greater accuracy by better incorporating the influence of body size, and by specifically incorporating the influence of height on gait mechanics. Specifically:

  • Bigger people burn fewer calories on a per-pound basis of their body weight to walk at a given speed or to cover a fixed distance.
  • The older standardized equations don’t account for size differences; rather, they assume that roughly one size fits all.

The exact dates are a bit murky, but the leading standardized equations, known by their shorthand as the “ACSM” and “Pandolf” equations, were developed about 40 years ago for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and for the military, respectively, Ludlow says.

The Pandolf method, for example, draws on walking metabolism data from six U.S. soldiers, she said. Both the Pandolf and ACSM equations were developed on a small number of adult males of average height.

The new, more accurate equation will prove useful, as predicting energy expenditure is common in many fields, including those focused on health, weight loss, exercise, military and defense, and professional and amateur physical training. Accurate estimations of the rate at which calories are burned could potentially help predict a person’s aerobic power and likelihood for executing a task, such as training for an athletic competition or carrying out a military objective.

In general, the new metabolic estimates can be combined with other physiological signals such as body heat, core temperature and heart rate to improve predictions of fatigue, overheating, dehydration, the aerobic power available and whether a person can sustain a given intensity of exercise.

  • SMU’s new and improved equation for predicting the energy expenditure of walking:
  • VO2total = VO2rest + 3.85 + 5.97·V2/Ht (where V is measured in m/s, Ht in meters, and VO2 in ml O2·kg−1·min−1)

Source: ACE – ProSource: May 2016 – Study: Walkers Burn More Calories Than Previously Thought

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Right now is a great time to quit smoking. Why? In as little as 20 minutes you’ll start to feel the benefits of not smoking. As soon as you quit,your body begins a series of healing and recovery changes that continue for years. Stopping smoking can make a big difference to your health and lifestyle. It is never too late to stop to greatly benefit your health. If you need more incentive to quit smoking, here are some reasons that you may not know about.

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© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion

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How to Eat Mindfully: Learn to Appreciate Every Bite.Most of the excitement and the emphasis on the cholesterol health issue have centered on the concept of lowering cholesterol and the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. There are many treatment plans, including drugs and nutrients established to lower LDL cholesterol.

In my opinion, what is of equal importance is looking at raising your “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol as this has a very beneficial effect on your risk of heart disease and stroke.

HDL cholesterol molecules are manufactured in the liver. These specialized, small, and dense molecules transport various types of fats including triglycerides and cholesterol throughout the blood stream. In the case of HDL, this molecule transports fat deposits from the artery walls back to the liver where it is metabolized. Typically, HDL can be measured by standard blood tests—and higher amounts of this good cholesterol have been associated with many positive health outcomes.

Here are some important things you can do which increase the production of HDL good cholesterol in your body:

Avoid Trans Fat

Trans fat is produced when liquid vegetable oils are heated and infused with hydrogen. The resulting fat produced is solid at room temperature but dangerous to ingest. The consumption of trans fats increases LDL and decreases HDL cholesterol synthesis within the liver. To increase your good cholesterol, avoid fried foods and commercially prepared snack foods, baked goods, hard margarines, and frozen entrées, which will help decrease your exposure to this dangerous fat. Make sure you read labels carefully, to ensure there’s no trans fat in the product.

Avoid Sugar

Diets which contain high amounts of soda, candy, sweets, baked goods, fruit drinks, and deserts have a tendency to lower good cholesterol levels in the blood by a direct influence on liver synthesis. Sugar causes high amounts of insulin which is secreted over prolonged periods of time which can decrease the production of HDL cholesterol in the liver. Cutting down and trying to eliminate the bulk of the sugar intake in your diet can greatly influence the level of protective HDL you have in your blood stream.

Consume More Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber found in oatmeal, bran, fruit and flax seed, can increase the synthesis of HDL cholesterol by increasing the concentration of lignans in your body. Lignans can exert a direct effect on the liver by increasing the formation of HDL cholesterol. Increasing the intake of soluble fiber also lowers blood sugar and insulin levels which directly affects the production of HDL in the liver. This is necessary to increase good cholesterol.

Consume healthy fats

Fats derived from salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines contain the omega-3 family of fatty acids known to reduce the incidence of heart disease and stroke. One of the ways these fats can achieve this is by increasing the production of HDL cholesterol in the liver. The fats of the omega-9 family commonly found in nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados can also exert a beneficial effect upon HDL cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Increase good cholesterol by eating more healthy fats.

Drink Moderately

The moderate intake of red wine and alcohol has been shown to be associated with higher amounts of circulating HDL cholesterol. Moderate intake of these beverages implies one glass of wine per day for a female (or one ounce of spirits) and one to two glasses daily (two ounces of spirits) for a male.

Physical Activity

Becoming more physically active has a tremendous benefit to your health in so many ways. Physical activity can improve the synthesis of HDL cholesterol by improving insulin sensitivity and blood glucose utilization. It can also reduce inflammation and body weight while encouraging stored body fat oxidation for fuel. The net effect is, among other things, higher blood levels of HDL cholesterol. Exercising is a great way to increase good cholesterol.

Many people always focus on the ways you can lower your bad cholesterol, but it’s also important to increase good cholesterol to reap many health benefits.

by Dr. K.J. McLaughlin

http://www.foods4betterhealth.com/6-easy-ways-to-increase-your-good-cholesterol-3228

Source(s):
  • Schofield, J.D., et al., “High-density lipoprotein cholesterol raising: does it matter?” Curr Opin Cardiol. July 2013; 28(4): 464-74.
  • Hausenloy, D.J., et al., “Targeting residual cardiovascular risk: raising high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels,” Heart. June 2008; 94(6): 706-14.
  • Barter, P., “HDL-C: role as a risk modifier,” Atheroscler Suppl. November 2011; 12(3): 267-70.
  • Garneau, V., et al., “Association between plasma omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease risk factors,” Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. March 2013; 38(3): 243-8.

More Information

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