Exercise 1 Hour a Week & Lower Your Cholesterol

09/24/2009

Previous studies have found that exercise can improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels.  This is one of the first studies to find a link between exercise and significant lowering of bad (LDL) cholesterol in women.  This study did not find a benefit in men and this needs to be evaluated further.  Almost 9,000 sedentary middle-aged adults were followed in this 9 year study which was published in The Journal of Lipid Research (August 2009).  

woman walking

 Women who did as little as one hour a week of moderate physical activity (like taking a brisk walk) or 30 minutes of vigorous activity a week had a decrease in their bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.

White women had a 4 mg/dl decrease in LDL cholesterol

African American women had a 10 mg/dl decrease in their LDL cholesterol

 Postmenopausal women had an even greater benefit.

Postmenopausal white women had a 5.9 mg/dl decrease in LDL cholesterol

Postmenopausal African American women had a 14.7 mg/dl decrease in LDL cholesterol

 Now we can all fit 1 hour a week of exercise into our busy schedule.  Your Heart with Thank You!!

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” discusses how women can help control their cholesterol and other risk factors to prevent a heart attack, stroke and diabetes.  “Take Charge: A Man’s Roadmap to a Healthier Heart” is due to be released Fall 2009.  For more info visit www.heart-strong.com


6 Affordable and Effective Exercise Essentials

08/26/2009

 If you need inspiration to become more physically active, a push to get going or just want to have more fun, here are six of the best, easy-to-afford and effective pieces of exercise gear.

 Using just one of these regularly will improve your fitness without straining your budget:

Resistance bands: Stretchy and fun, they do the work of weights but pack easily in a purse or pocket. Versatile for several body areas. ($3+)

Jump rope: Remember when you could jump for hours with your friends? You don’t need hours now—just 5 or 10 minutes of jumping (indoors, if you prefer) will boost your activity level and burn calories. ($3+)

Exercise mat: You’ll be more comfortable, with a safer grip, than exercising on a carpet or bare floor. That will help you be active more easily, for a longer time. ($15+)

Hand weights: Keep a set by the computer or TV and use while watching something entertaining. ($5+)

Exercise ball: Sized for your height, most of these come with their own pump for easy inflation (and reinflation). Great for strengthening various muscle groups. Use as a chair and you’ll get a bit of a workout just from balancing on it. ($15+)

Pedometer: Just put it on and in a day or two you’ll be more aware of how much (or little) you’re moving every day. Aim to increase your average daily steps by 5 percent every week until you reach 10,000 steps a day, a goal that the American Heart Association and other experts suggest. Then add more to increase benefits. ($10+)

Often, you can find fitness items such as exercise DVDs, roller skates, workout clothing and more at yard or garage sales for just a dollar or two.

If you’re interested in acquiring big home-gym equipment, yard sales and online community boards are great places to find barely used items. Recently, one site had offerings that included treadmills for $35 to $75, a weight bench for $1 and an elliptical machine for $180. Just remember that you’ll probably have to arrange for transporting the big and heavy pieces—as well as find a space for them in your home.

© 2009 National Women’s Health Resource Center, Inc. (NWHRC) All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from the NWHRC. 1-877-986-9472 (tollfree). On the Web at: www.healthywomen.org.


Walk or Bike to Work to Decrease Your Heart Attack Risk

08/21/2009

ride bike

Can walking to work or riding your bicycle really lower your risk for a heart attack?

The CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults, published in July 2009 issue of Archive of Internal Medicine) study followed over 2,300 men and women and found that active commuting to and/or from work really did help lower heart disease risk factors.  Unfortunately only 16% of people in the study actually performed active commuting on a daily basis, more men than women.

Men who actively commuted had lower triglyceride (blood fat) levels, lower blood pressures, better insulin levels, lower weights, and higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

The number of women who participated in active commuting was too small to determine any significant health benefits but women who performed daily physical activity had healthier numbers.

Numerous factors may not make it feasible for you to walk or bike to your place of employment.  But we always like to say that even SMALL CHANGES can make a difference.  Try getting off the bus or subway one stop earlier and walking the rest of the way to work.  If you have to drive to work, try parking your car further away from the door, which would allow some extra steps.  Take a walk at lunch time.  All Activity Counts!

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” discusses how women can help control their blood pressure and other risk factors to prevent a heart attack, stroke and heart failure.  “Take Charge: A Man’s Roadmap to a Healthier Heart” is due to be released Fall 2009.  For more info visit www.heart-strong.com


Funny Healthy Dog Video

08/14/2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEgJ9qxCQzU


Is Obesity Hereditary?

08/12/2009

obese girl

A recent study by Plymouth’s Peninsula Medical School found that obese mothers were 10 times more likely to have obese daughters.  Obese fathers were 6 times more likely to have obese sons.  An interesting finding was that children of the opposite sex were not affected.  The researchers suggest that the increased obesity risk may be related to similar lifestyles rather than genetics.

This suggests the need to target parent’s eating and exercise habits in order to promote healthy lifestyles for adults and their children.  We know children learn from their parents, this includes both good and bad habits.  Parents need to become positive role models.

For more heart healthy info please visit www.heart-strong.com


Sweetened drinks increase a woman’s risk for heart disease

07/31/2009

 The Nurses Health Study evaluated over 88,000 women aged 34 to 59 over 24 years.  They recently reported that women who drank 2 or more sweetened beverages a day had a 35% increase in their risk for heart disease (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2009).  Sweetened beverages in this study included: Caffeinated and non-caffeinated colas and carbonated beverages with sugar.  The increased risk was not observed with artificially sweetened drinks.  The researchers believe that the sweetened beverages can increase triglycerol levels and this might be the cause of the heart problems.

 Enjoying an occasional sweetened beverage may be okay but – Moderation is Key!

 For more heart healthy info and New Women’s Heart Health book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” visit www.heart-strong.com


What is Extra-Virgin Olive Oil?

07/29/2009

olive oil

Rachel Ray talks about EVOO all the time, but is it really worth the money? And what exactly is extra-virgin olive oil?
“Extra-virgin” means the olives and pits are ground together into a mash.  This mash concoction is then subjected to several hundred pounds of pressure producing an oil and water.  The water is removed and what is left is called “virgin oil”.  If it contains less than 1% acid and has a superior taste and color it is called “extra-virgin” oil.  Only the best green olives, which take on the personality of the soil from Spain, Greece, Italy and California, make up extra virgin olive oil. 

Olive oil connoisseurs claim that each oil has its own taste and aroma similar to wine.  But unlike wine, olive oil does not age well and should be consumed within one year (best taste is within first 2 months).

Whether you use an expensive brand of extra-virgin olive oil or a less expensive brand remember that all olive oils are considered heart healthy.

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com