Tag: heart health

Invest In Yourself, Exercise!

I cannot fathom the reasoning that goes into ones thought process when they state they do not do healthy. I have heard this enough over the years I actually wrote an article about it which I titled,  I Don’t Do Healthy and Other Dumb Quotes.

Honestly, I have a difficult time getting past such an absurd mindset. Yet I know it is not uncommon. The mind set delves further into the absurd when it is coming from who is obese and suffering from many self inflicted ailments that require constant medical attention. Not that I have, or will ask this, but sometimes it makes me wonder if they are really this dumb, or just want me to believe they are. After all,  who are they hurting with their obstinence?

Who they are hurting might just be you if you are the one who will be picking up all the shattered and broken pieces of their lives one day.

 Is it really too much effort to take care of yourself before your body decides to fight back with ailments and or disease?

It does not take rocket science to know and fully understand that exercise is good for our bodies. Even if you suffer from DOM’s (delayed onset muscle soreness) for your first few days of an exercise regimen, your body is liking that it is being worked as it was meant to be. Too many lay about licking their wounds, wanting a doctor to just prescribe them something to stop the sickness, the aches and pains, and the early aging. Yet, you have the power within yourself to put a stop to most of this without ever stepping foot in a doctors office.

It is proven science that as we age, exercise will help mitigate the frailty and diseases that come from a sedentary lifestyle. The more fit your body, the longer you will live a quality life. If you want to live a life of laying about the house eating cookies and cakes while binge watching your favorite program on the television, then you will likely die younger than you need to, while being a miserable individual in your final years on earth. It really is as simple a concept as this, and no one can scientifically argue against the benefits of physical exercise.

Invest in yourself!

Make an inexpensive investment into your future that will pay big dividends for quality of life as you age. Begin investing when you are young, and before you get too far out of shape. Even if you are obese and out of shape, get your butt up off the couch and move it with a purpose. Once you begin getting into better shape, you will live a more active life that will make you feel and look younger. Exercise is going to make daily life functions much easier and simpler. There will not have to be any thinking about how hard it will be to climb the steps in your home. You will have an easier time carrying in your groceries. Best of all, you will be able to live a fuller life where you can actually enjoy doing outside activities with your grandchildren. And you will be able to do these things without gasping for air every few minutes or having to constantly sit down to rest.  By exercising at enough aerobic intensity to get your heart rate elevated, by strength training and stretching, you are going to improve your functional fitness, which is going to improve your life for you and your loved ones. You will no longer rain on your kids, or grandchildren’s parades anymore by sitting out every activity they might want you to be involved with them in.

Immediate payoff

Good exercise can and will give you a boost in energy. If you are lethargic in the afternoons, you can easily turn this around with a brisk walk and simple stretching. This will aid in getting your more blood pumping to your brain. At night, you will find that sleep will improve and come easier than it did when you were fat and out of shape. Your body will have true fatigue and your stress levels will have fallen as a result of a good bout of vigorous exercise. This is good since as we age, our periods of deep sleep will often shorten, which translates into less restful sleep.

Being as physical exercise essentially resets the brain, you will find that you have become a calmer individual than you might have been before. Exercise reduces our stress levels immensely. It helps to keep our blood pressure lower during stressful situations. If you are a couch potato, your blood pressure will rise quicker and higher than a normal weight, fit individual. This benefit is one of great quality as it allows you to remain better focused on the difficult tasks life often hands to us.

Exercise helps with chronic pain and helps relieve menopausal hot flashes. After a few short weeks with an exercise regimen you notice that your self esteem has improved as you achieve your new fitness goals, and of course, as you begin to feel healthier. you will find that an active life style will work wonders with your mood as it is known to release endorphins, or the feel good brain chemicals in your brain. Have you ever heard of runners high? I can tell you it is absolutely real, and it damn sure feels good.

Getting your heart healthy.

Any type of exercise is going to be better for your heart health than sitting on your couch all day doing nothing of substance. By getting your body moving with some intensity, you will strengthen your heart, which is absolutely going to make you feel better. Your heart will beat with less effort and your arterial walls will be more supple, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease. Moderate exercise that burns 1200 to 1600 calories per week will improve your cholesterol profile by raising your HDL (good cholesterol) and preventing the oxidation of your LDL (bad cholesterol) which if left unchecked, will cause your LDL to stick to the walls of your arteries.

This is a topic I love! The American Heart Association has come to the conclusion that lifting weights is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Strength training lowers your cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, and improves your overall cardiovascular fitness. Your glucose metabolism becomes more efficient, which lowers your risk of diabetes and your ratio of muscle to fat will be increased which means your metabolism will be more efficient at burning off body fat. The importance of having a low bod fat to lean muscle percentage is the fact lean muscle burns more calories than your body fat ever will, and it does this even when you are sitting down resting. When people ask me if I do much cardio, I always tell them that weight training done right, is cardio.

Greater lung capacity.

After the age of 25, there is a 1% decline in lung capacity that occurs every year unless you do something about it with aerobic activity. This lung capacity, known as your VO-2, will typically increase by 6 to 20% with aerobic conditioning, and can go as high as a 50% increase. When you can breath better, you live better. Only a fool would argue this. As your lung capacity improves, oxygen enters your lungs more efficiently and the carbon dioxide waste, leaves more rapidly. By increasing your lung volume, you are increasing the quality of your life. You will be able to function without getting winded so easily.

Benefits, head to toes.

You do not need any expensive gym memberships or high tech fitness gadgets to get yourself into good physical condition. All you need is your doctors clearance and a will to get yourself active. By simply walking 30 minutes per day, you will begin reaping many benefits to your body and soul.  From arthritis to weight gain, good vigorous exercise will help mitigate many medical issues in your life. The investment in a pair of sneakers and a comfortable outfit to exercise in is far cheaper than unnecessary medical bills brought about by an unhealthy diet and sedentary life. Strong muscles in your thighs will help reduce the risk of arthritis in your knees. Women can reduce their risk of diabetes by half.

It is a well established fact that exercise boosts your body’s immune system function. And you do not have to work out every day to enjoy the many health benefits. I have read of a study where it was found that people who exercised moderately for 30 minutes, only 6 times per month outlived those with a sedentary lifestyle by a 43% margin. When it comes to quality of life and longevity, staying physically fit is the best investment you can make in yourself.

Invest into your own future wisely. You will have no regrets.

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Heart Health and Insulin

Often, when we think of heart issues we never consider insulin and it’s role in heart health. Usually, when we think of insulin the first thing that comes to mind is diabetes. And here in lies a huge problem, most people who are over weight or obese will not think of themselves as having a true health issue with their weight when they have not developed diabetes. This thinking is foolhardy and comes from a lack of knowledge. Besides the effect on your body with insulin and whether you have diabetes or not, the powerful role insulin plays in your body has great effects that can lead to high blood pressure, risk-related blood fat levels, weight gain, atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, and heart disease in a great number of overweight or obese individuals who have never been diagnosed as being diabetic.

Insulin and Glucagon must be in balance!

In a healthy body, insulin does not like to be used up. It has been referred to as the “Saver Hormone”  This miserly nature of insulin is no easy task when you consider how some of us eat and live sedentary lifestyles. Insulin must meet multiple demands by the body such as appeals for energy to enable muscles to maintain their health and viability, to fuel our nervous system, and to keep our organs under constant repair to keep our body’s ability to function normally. Insulin will try to make your body store it’s energy stores, by converting carbohydrates into fat which is then stored inside of your cells, it must give up some of it’s food energy in order to get us through our basic daily living functions.

The second part of this equation which must be kept in balance with insulin is glucagon, or what is referred to as your body’s “Spending Hormone”. Most of us have heard of insulin, but I would guess that many, if not most of you, have never heard of glucagon. The balance between these two are just as insulin directs food energy into our cells, glucagon is what brings it back out of the cells in order to repair and fuel your body in between meals. This balance must be maintained and crappy dietary habits makes this task difficult.

A bad diet that does not meet all of our nutritional needs will quite obviously throw our hormonal balance out of whack. Although, as evident by the rampant obesity in our society, many will destroy their own health when there is a better choice to be made in living healthy with a good clean diet. It does not have to be this way, but many will still choose the lame way out with a diet of junk and fast foods and place their hormonal balance into a tail spin and then complain they cannot lose their weight.

If you choose to make good dietary habits a lifestyle that keeps your hormonal balance on an even keel, insulin and glucagon fully compliment each other and maintain a perfect harmony. Making this harmony occur is fully within your control, it will make you feel so much better. As insulin rises, it makes you want to eat, it helps with fueling your body. What energy is not used gets put away into your fat cells. Later, as your insulin levels fall off, glucagon begins to rise. The glucagon opens the fat cells up and the energy that is released is burned to keep your body running efficiently, as it was designed to do. After a period,  insulin once again begins to rise and the whole cycle repeats itself.

This natural balance is 100% within our control when we make the personal choice to make it so. Do not sell yourself short, ever!

When you make the lame choice for yourself to eat bad every day of your life, no matter your excuses, you are going to put this hormonal balance between insulin and glucagon out of kilter. The reasons why you eat a poor diet are not relevant to this reality. When you manage to get your hormonal balance off, there becomes a battle between the hormones that will put your heart health, or even your life at risk.

Although insulin and glucagon are to be in balance for good health, insulin is a more powerful hormone than it’s counterpart. Insulin will completely take over if you let it. When insulin is released into your blood, glucagon takes a submissive role and diminishes significantly. Glucagon will only rise back up once the insulin levels begin to fall again.

When you subsist on sweet treats and foods with added sugars, you insulin levels will always remain high! You do have control over what you eat! No excuse is going to fix your health. period.

Insulin’s dominance over glucagon is not all bad. In pre-historic times, when our ancestors had a surplus of food, insulin was needed in order to channel as much of the food in the fat cells as possible. Unlike us in the modern world, our ancestors did not always know where their next meal was coming from. And to make matters worse, their foods were not anywhere near as energy rich as our foods of today. Our ancestors had to fatten themselves up because they did not always know where or when their next meal would be coming to them. Insulin would get our ancestors to eat as much as they could so they could get the most out of the foods they were able to consume.

We no longer live in those times folks. Food is now abundant!

Now, on the other hand for our ancestors, food was not always available. In fact, famine can still be rampant in different parts of the world today. When our body requires energy, glucagon opens the fat cells and brings out the energy that has been stored. This energy fuels our muscles, brain and other organs to go out and get more nourishment. For our ancestors, when food was not readily available, insulin’s fat storing ability was not required. Our ancestors were not fat for the most part.

In days past, insulin kept us alive. In our modern world today where we might gorge and junk foods that keep our insulin levels high, this can actually kill us over time or even rapidly. 

Currently, we still have to keep our hormones in balance and we can do this through good dietary habits and exercise. However, many choose to eat bad food choices and to live sedentary lifestyles which causes a tug of war between insulin and glucagon. Insulin is usually winning this battle as we can see by all of the overweight or obese people that surround us. We can make a choice to control the outcome of our health we can choose to live a healthy life. Or we can sell ourselves short and not eat healthy, nor exercise. This can make the difference between a long and healthy life or one plagued by heart problems or cut short by heart disease.

Heart Health and Diet

We are only born with one heart to to keep us living on this side of the dirt. Yet so many will continue a lifestyle which is harmful to this precious and essential muscle which keeps us alive. For the intent of this article, I am not talking about the obvious example of street drugs and alcohol abuse. Nope, I am talking about poor dietary habits that according to Tufts University in Boston, the University of Cambridge in England, and Montifiore Medical Center in New York, account for 45 percent of heart disease deaths. This 45 percent of deaths are attributable to unhealthy eating habits heavy on foods and nutrients that have long been associated with influencing cardiovascular and metabolic health. These organizations studied the deaths of more than 700,000 people in 2012 from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and examined 10 dietary factors among the population such as the consumption of sugar sweetened drinks, processed meats and sodium intake to come to their conclusions.

The largest number of heart disease deaths was associated with high intake of processed meats, sugar sweetened beverages and low intake of nuts.

What constitutes processed meats? Bacon, ham, sausage,lunch meats, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat, and meat based sauces. Meat processing includes all the process which changes fresh meat with the exception of simple mechanical processes such as cutting, grinding or mixing. A good amount of these processed meats contain sodium nitrates for preserving the red/pink color of meat, to improve flavor by suppressing fat oxidation/going rancid, and to prevent the growth of bacteria to cut the risk of food poisoning. Processed meats are the main dietary source of nitrosamines. Other sources of nitrosamines include contaminated drinking water, tobacco smoke, salted and pickled foods. Let that last sentence sink in a little, contaminated drinking water and tobacco smoke… Besides being harmful to the heart, this substance also increases your risk for bowel cancer.

The good news is you do not have to completely give these foods up, you really need to occasionally consume them in moderation. Of course, a key part of my methodology, my lifestyle, I recommend quitting all processed foods entirely or only on a rare occasion as whole healthy foods can be prepared just as simply with little effort. By making this a part of a lifestyle, it is just what you do and little thought goes into food preparation being a hassle as it can be seen to those who want to live on drive through or microwave foods.

Now I will get to that other white crystalline substance so many of us are addicted to in western society, sugar. Sugar can be found in damn near everything now days and it is wrecking the health of millions around the world. According to Harvard Health, a sugar laden diet may raise your risk of dying of heart disease even if you are not over weight. I have hammered type 2 diabetes and sugar in the past, and touched on the issues it causes with the heart as well. In this article I am going to get more in depth how sugar consumption affects your heart.

According to Harvard Health: added sugars make up 10% of the calories the average American eats in a day. But about 1 in 10 people get one quarter or more of their calories from added sugar. I always say that if you do not want to look like a jelly donut, then you have to quit eating jelly donuts. But, the health implications go deeper than your obesity when you consider that sugar can harm your heart health even if you are not over weight. This would be especially true if you what is considered to be “skinny fat”, or, you might not be over weight, but your ass is not fit either. You can still have a high body fat percentage while not Being over weight, hence the term “skinny fat”. You know the type, they are soft and have no muscle tone even though they are in a healthy BMI range.

Over the course of a 15 year study on added sugar and heart disease, Participants who took in 25% or more of their daily calories from added sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets included less than 10% added sugar. Over all, the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet. And this was true regardless of the persons age, sex, physical activity level and Body Mass Index (BMI). Think about all the health troubles you can avoid, the health care expenses you can avoid, the misery, and the grief of your family once you have passed on that can be avoided by a simple lifestyle change of cutting added sugar from your diet.

Take a good hard look at yourself and the people you are surrounded by, and count how many rarely or never drink plain water, yet sip on sugary drinks all day long as if they are a newborn on their mothers breast. Take away that soda pop and they are crying the blues like an infant hungry for milk. If this is not you,odds are sky high you know this type of individual.

Sugar sweetened beverages such as soda pop, energy and sports drinks are in fact, the biggest sources of added sugar in the American diet per Harvard Health. I know people who only drink soda or energy drinks all day long and never anything else. I used to work with a young man who drank two 2 liter bottles of Mountain Dew every day. He went in to get his physical for driving commercial vehicles and his blood pressure was high enough he was at risk of eminent stroke. His kidneys had failed and the poor bastard was placed on dialysis and a transplant waiting list right away. These types of things become a vicious circle where high blood pressure harms the kidneys. The damaged kidneys elevate the blood pressure, meanwhile this fool had caused it all by thinking he could live on two 2 liter bottles a day of Mountain Dew. Does it take being a rocket scientist to realize how foolish this is? These sugary drinks account for more than one third of the added sugar we consume as a nation. Other important sources include cookies, cakes, pastries, and similar treats; fruit drinks; ice cream, frozen yogurt and the like; candy; and ready to eat cereals. You have to know that by eating all this crap on a daily basis, you are not doing your health any good at all. If you allow your child to eat like this, ponder the health issues you are likely going to cause them as a result of poor dietary choices. It is not uncommon in today’s world that we have children suffering preventable ailments that we used to only see in senior citizens. All this added sugar is only contributing to empty calories devoid of nutrients. Sugar does not contain fiber, vitamins, minerals or any other nutrients. Too much added sugar typically crowds out healthier choice foods.

Based on the assumption that heart issues would affect people who eat a lot of sugar and small amounts of fruits and vegetables, if any, research has been done in this area to see if there was any difference between these folks and those who do eat more vegetables and fruits. It has been found that no matter how healthy an individuals diet might otherwise be, despite their high sugar consumption, people who consumed too much sugar still had a higher cardiovascular mortality rate than those who consumed little to no sugar according to Dr. Teresa Fung, adjunct professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Exactly how much excess sugar might harm the heart is not clear. Research has shown that drinking sugar sweetened beverages can raise blood pressure. A high sugar diet may also stimulate the liver to dump more harmful fats into the blood stream. Both factors are well known to boost the risk of heart disease. Think about this and how you want to live your life. In life, you may get some do-overs by expensive medications and surgeries, or you can often get a do-over by changing your lifestyle to one which is healthier. At David’s Way we promote a lifestyle and not a diet. We promote a life style that involves healthy dietary habits where you eat zero added sugars or processed foods, We promote a diet high in protein and lower in complex carbohydrates. Our bodies require carbs for a main source of fuel, just ensure they are complex and not simple from sugars. You should target 125 grams of complex carbohydrates per day plus or minus 25 grams. The higher protein is not only for building and maintaining muscle, but also to keep you more satiated between meals. We promote physical fitness activities that your doctor has cleared you to perform, in order to not only strengthen your heart and body, and to help you to lose weight, but also to greatly help you with keeping your levels of stress at minimum levels. We teach to keep your world small. In other words, minimize your exposure to stressful people and situations that you can avoid.

Healthy eating, physical fitness, and stress reduction are all key components to David’s Way. For the record, David’s Way was not my idea for a blog name. It was given to me by a friend because of my writings which were helping people on another commercial weight loss sight in meeting their weight loss goals. Because people were having much more success with my methodology than they were having with their paid for food points plan, I decided I could help more with my own website. Today, we have been read and followed by folks in 63 countries. We have many new ideas in work right now which are going to take this blog over the top as a world class source of information in helping you to live a healthier life.