Fitness and Exercise
Start a New Resolution to Get in Shape
One of the best things we can each do to maintain our health is to exercise and control our weight through a nutritious diet. The American Heart Association suggests exercising for at least 30 minutes a day. Exercising can include activities such as walking, jogging, biking, swimming or whatever you enjoy doing. Make sure you drink at least one glass of water before and after your workout.
Avoid injuries by following these steps:
Warming Up - Muscles use oxygen as fuel. An inactive or cold muscle needs relatively little oxygen. The harder the muscles work, the more oxygen they need to function. The same is true for the heart. If beginning a workout without first warming up, the heart may not get enough oxygen to meet the increased demands of exercise and it may begin to beat irregularly. Warm up by doing whatever will be done in the actual workout, but at a slower, more relaxed pace. When perspiration begins, the muscles are warmed and are ready for the workout.
Stretching - In every activity, certain muscles are put under more stress than others. Stretching these muscles lengthens and loosens them, so that when the workout begins, they are less likely to be injured. Stretch only after having warmed up. A cold muscle is more likely to tear when stretched. Perform stretches slowly and deliberately, holding each position for at least five seconds. Do not bounce in the stretched position. Do not stretch farther than feels comfortable. The stretch, not strain, should be felt in the appropriate muscle.
Cooling Down -It is important to cool down after a workout by gradually decreasing the level of activity until the heart rate decreases close to normal. The decrease of blood flow during a cool down is equally as important as the increase of blood flow during a warm up. If the blood supply to the brain is suddenly reduced, dizziness may occur.
Winning the Weight Loss Battle
Maintaining a healthy weight is essential to maintaining a healthy body. Along with exercise, proper nutrition promotes wellness and decreases the risk of a host of serious conditions, including diabetes
and heart disease.
A diet high in fat, especially trans fats, should be avoided. What exactly is trans fat? Trans fats are formed during the process of hydrogenation. Trans fats cause significant and serious lowering of HDL (good) cholesterol and a significant and serious increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol. They can also cause major clogging of arteries, type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems.
Trans fats are placed into food to increase shelf life, but they decrease human life. The trans fat content of foods is printed on the package of the Nutrition Facts label. The American Heart Association suggests keeping trans fat intake to less than 1 percent of total calories. For example, if you need 2,000 calories a day, you should consume less than 2 grams of trans fat.
Looking for weight loss in all the wrong places?
The battle of the weight loss diets has been going on for years. So what is the “right” diet? Is there one? Diets that claim to provide the “right” answer to weight control are generally short-term fixes and not the real answer to lifelong change.
For weight management, the right type of eating plan for each individual is one that promotes health, provides moderate portions, is enjoyable and can be maintained for life. Healthy eating is a major factor in any dietary lifestyle. This also involves eating the right portions for your energy needs.
Body Mass Index
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight and height. BMI helps evaluate your risk for health problems associated with weight, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Using the interactive BMI Calculator above, you can determine what your exact BMI is.
The location of fat on your body is very important. If you are carrying fat around the middle, mainly around your waist, you are more likely to develop health problems than if you carry fat mainly in your hips and thighs. This appears true even if your BMI falls within the normal range. If you are a woman with a waist circumference of more than 35 inches or a man with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches, you may have a higher disease risk than people with smaller waist measurements.
The Low-Down on Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a leading risk factor for heart disease. Excess cholesterol in the bloodstream can form plaque (a thick, hard deposit) in artery walls. The cholesterol or plaque build up causes arteries to become thicker, harder and less flexible, slowing down and sometimes blocking blood flow to the heart. When blood flow is restricted, angina (chest pain) can result. When blood flow to the heart is severely impaired and a clot stops blood flow completely, a heart attack results.
Know Your Numbers – Know Your Risk
Do you know your numbers? It is no longer sufficient to know only
your total cholesterol. At CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances, you can obtain a complete lipid profile that consists of total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides.
Desirable: less than 200 mg/dL
High: greater than 240 mg/dL
HDL or “good” cholesterol (higher the better)
Desirable: Women: greater than 65 mg/dL
Men: greater than 55 mg/dL
Low: Women: less than 50 mg/dL
Men: less than 40 mg/dL
LDL or “bad” cholesterol (lower the better)
Desirable: less than 100 mg/dL
High: 160-189 mg/dL
Desirable: less than 150 mg/dL
High: 200-499 mg/dL
What should I do about my cholesterol?
The best thing you can do to lower your cholesterol is to eat right, exercise and monitor your weight.
What should I eat?
- Variety of fruits and vegetables (choose 5 or more servings/day)
- Variety of whole grain products such as bread, cereal, pasta, rice, etc.
- Fat-free and low-fat milk products
- Lean meats and poultry without skin
- Fatty fish, baked or grilled (at least 2 servings/week)
- Beans, peas, oatmeal
- Nuts and seeds in limited amounts
- Unsaturated fats such as canola and olive oil
What should I avoid?
- Whole or 2% milk, cream and ice cream
- Butter, egg yolks, cheese and foods made with them
- Organ meats
- High fat processed meats such as bologna, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, salami
- Fatty meats that have not been trimmed
- Tropical fats such as palm oil
- Solid fats such as shortening and stick margarine
- Fried foods
- Foods that contain “partially hydrogenated fat” such as cookies, crackers, doughnuts
- Products with “enriched” ingredients
The Low-Down on Blood Pressure
Everybody has and needs blood pressure. Without it, blood can't circulate through the body. And without circulating blood, vital organs can't get the oxygen and food that they need to work. So it's important to know about blood pressure and how to keep it within a healthy level. Normal blood pressure falls within a range; it's not one set of numbers.
If you are healthy, your arteries are muscular and elastic. They stretch when your heart pumps blood through them. How much they stretch depends on how much force the blood exerts.
Your heart beats about 60 to 80 times a minute under normal conditions. Your blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when your heart relaxes between beats. Your blood pressure can change from minute to minute, with changes in posture, exercise or sleeping, but it should not exceed 130/80 mm Hg for an adult. Blood pressure that stays above this level is considered high. Your doctor may take several readings over a period of time before making a judgment about whether your blood pressure is considered to be in a high level range.
What do blood pressure numbers indicate?
- The higher (systolic) number represents the pressure while the heart is beating.
- The lower (diastolic) number represents the pressure when the heart is resting between beats.
The systolic pressure is always stated first and the diastolic pressure second.
Blood pressure that does not exceed 130 over 80 is considered a normal reading for adults. A systolic pressure of 130-139 or a diastolic pressure of 85-89 needs to be watched carefully. A blood pressure reading equal to or greater than 140 (systolic) over 90 (diastolic) is considered elevated (high).
Heart Attack Warning Signs
Heart Attack Warning Signs
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S., but heart attacks are preventable in most cases. Keys to prevention include quitting smoking, lowering cholesterol, controlling high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight and exercise.
- Chest pain lasting more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back
- Discomfort or pain in the jaw, neck, shoulders, arms or back
- Intense sweating or shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unusual chest pain, stomach pain or abdominal pain
- Nausea or dizziness
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness
More on heart attack symptoms and warning signs.
Stroke Warning Signs
Know the Signs of a Stroke
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America and the number one cause of adult disability. Half of people having a stroke don't know it, so being able to recognize the signs and symptoms can be life-saving:
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or
leg, especially on one side of the body
- Change in vision in one or both eyes
- Trouble speaking or understanding
- Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
If you or someone you know experiences any of these signs, even if it is only for a short time, call 9-1-1 and ask to be taken to the Stroke Center at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances. Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms occurred. It is very important to take immediate action. If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.
CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Stroke Center of Excellence has neurologists and a dedicated stroke team available 24-hours a day to help in the rapid identification and treatment of stroke. Because time is brain during a stroke, the highly trained team has immediate access to the latest technology and utilizes the Code Stroke protocol to aid in the expedited identification and treatment of an acute stroke. CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances has inpatient units dedicated to stroke care as well as a 63-bed acute rehabilitation hospital that is nationally recognized year after year as a Stroke Center of Excellence.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause
of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.
There are 25.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 8.3% of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 18.8 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 7 million people are unaware that they have the disease.
In order to determine whether or not a patient has pre-diabetes or diabetes, health care providers conduct a Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG) or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). To determine whether you may be at risk, answer the questions on the following page and consult with your healthcare provider if appropriate.
Major Types of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes
Results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, the hormone that “unlocks” the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes
Results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
Immediately after pregnancy, 5% to 10% of women with gestational diabetes are found to have diabetes, usually, type 2.
Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. There are 79 million Americans who have pre-diabetes, in addition to the 25.8 million with diabetes.
Nicotine: A Powerful Addiction
Cigarettes contain at least 43 distinct cancer-causing chemicals. Smoking is directly responsible for 87 percent of lung cancer cases and causes most cases of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking is also a major factor in coronary heart disease and stroke. Smoking may be causally related to malignancies in other parts of the body and it has been linked to a variety of other conditions and disorders, including slowed healing of wounds, infertility and peptic ulcer disease.
If you have tried to quit tobacco use, you know how hard it can be. Nicotine is a very addictive drug. Within seconds, nicotine travels to the brain and tells it to release chemicals that make you want to smoke even more.
Most people try two or three times or more before finally quitting tobacco use. Studies have shown that each time you try to quit you will be stronger and will know more about what helps and hinders your efforts.
Anyone can stop tobacco use regardless of age, health or lifestyle. The decision to quit and your ultimate success are greatly influenced by how much you want to stop.
What are the options?
Methods of controlling your addiction fall into the following two categories:
• Pharmacological approaches currently include two general strategies, nicotine replacement
and medication. These methods are available at your local pharmacy.
• Behavioral approaches range from very brief interventions to extensive programs conducted by specialized counselors.
Quitting tobacco use is regarded as a health-maintenance activity; therefore, your doctor will inform you of the intervention most appropriate for you.
Effects of Quitting Smoking
Blood pressure drops to a level close to that before you had your last cigarette. The temperature of your hands and feet increases to normal.
Carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal.
Your chance of a heart attack decreases.
2 weeks to 3 months
Circulation improves. Your lung function increases up to 30 percent.
1 to 9 months
Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease; cilia regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection.
Your chance of having a heart attack is cut in half.
Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s five to fifteen years after quitting.
Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a continuing smoker’s; risks of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decrease.
Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.