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5 Tips for Reducing Your Risks of Heart Disease

5 Tips for Reducing Risks Heart Disease

Author: Sarah Dalton, BS, NASM-CPT

We would like to help you lower your risk of developing heart disease with 5 simple tips. It is important to stay on top of your health. If you neglect just one area it can negatively affect many other facets of your life and your health.

1. Eat a balanced DIET – Practice balancing your meals to help your body become healthier and happier. Cutting down on saturated fats, lowering sodium intake, cutting back on foods with added sugar, and increasing foods with healthy fats, high fiber and high nutrient content will help lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Consult a professional for personalized guidance, as individual needs will vary. Engaging in healthy eating habits can lower your chance of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.

2. Engage in daily PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – Start making small and large changes in your daily habits. For easy changes: try parking further and further away in the parking lot, get up from your desk regularly throughout the day, or go for a nice walk after dinner. For larger changes: try joining a gym, a group fitness class, and make it a priority in your life to do something active every day.

3. Stay HYDRATED – When you are dehydrated, your heart has to work much harder to pump blood throughout your body. The time of day that most people become most dehydrated, year-round, is when they are sleeping. Our bodies lose water throughout the night due to our breathing. The dryer the air around you, the more water you will lose with each breath. In order to help keep yourself from becoming a statistic, stay hydrated to help avoid having a heart attack in your sleep.

4. Watch your SODIUM intake – If you don’t make all of your food from scratch, there’s a good chance that what you are eating has a high amount of added salt. Restaurant food, frozen dinners, prepackaged foods, and even beverages contain higher sodium levels in order to improve flavor and to help preserve the freshness. If you don’t keep an eye on this added sodium your intake levels can affect your blood pressure and hydration in negative ways. Excess sodium will starve your tissues of water, vital to health and recovery, and also raise your blood pressure.

5. Reduce your STRESS – Many of us have multiple stressors in our lives. While some stress is not bad, and can even help us to grow and improve both mind and body. It is important to have tools and exercises to help minimize the negative impact that excess stress can have on our health and well-being. Stress can cause us to overeat, make poor nutrition choices, raise blood pressure, and effect normal sleeping patterns. Activities like walking, yoga, massage therapy, meditation and even a hug from a loved one can help reduce stress. Make sure you make time for yourself. If you don’t take care of YOU first and foremost, then you won’t be as effective when trying to help others. Lastly, If there is something in your life that is causing a large amount of stress, try to find ways to remedy the situation, sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution.

Make sure to strive for balance in all aspects of your life. If one aspect of your health becomes imbalanced, other systems in your body will compensate and, over time, lead to drastic health consequences.

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Hydrate for Health

Hydrate for Health

Author: Joe Sage, NASM-CPT, FNS, WLS, CES

With warmer temperatures on the way we might not be thinking about our water intake as much as we do in the wintertime. Since our bodies are not able to store extra water, we need to make sure we are drinking enough water daily for our bodies to function properly. For some of us, if we’re not doing any physical activity it might be easy to overlook how much water we are consuming throughout the day. We lose water from sweating, urinating, bowel movements, and exhaling. When we feel thirsty we have already put ourselves in a state of mild dehydration. Water plays an important role in bodily functions including regulating temperature, lubricating joints, moistens and protects tissues and organs, helps with digestion, prevents constipation, and helps eliminate waste.

So, how do we know if we are getting enough? The simplest way is by the color of our urine. If the color is yellow, we need to be drinking more, and if it is clear, then our body is properly hydrated. A basic equation for determining the amount of water we should drink is half of our body weight in ounces. So, if we have someone who weighs 180 lbs. that person should be drinking 90 ounces of water a day. Also keep in mind the amount of activity performed daily, as this would increase our water intake from excess sweat. Making sure we drink water throughout the day and knowing what to look for (feeling thirsty, yellow urine) can help ensure that we are giving our body what it needs to maintain proper hydration.

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Nutrition Nugget

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Fact: Drinking plenty of plain water and eating a healthful diet easily replaces the fluid and electrolytes a person loses during moderate exercise in pleasant weather. But if you are involved in endurance activities or strenuous exercise in hot weather, consider using sports drinks instead of just plain water to maintain electrolyte balance.

 

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