Walking To Prevent Heart Diease

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This week’s American Heart theme is to move more. Move more and sit less! Building into daily activity is one step at a time. Walking is one of the easiest ways to move more! For most people, it’s safe, easy to stick with, and low- or no-cost. It doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. For such a simple activity, it has so many benefits.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. That is 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

If it’s been awhile since you been active, simply start walking. Park further away to increase your daily steps. Grab a friend or family member and go for a walk. Start slow but also listen to your body, if are experience any discomfort, stop and discuss with your doctor. Other non-impact exercise is swimming and cycling to incorporate into moving more.

Research has shown that walking at a lively pace at least 150 minutes a week can help you:

  • Think better, feel better and sleep better.
  • Reduce your risk of serious diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several types of cancer.
  • Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.
  • Increase your energy and stamina.
  • Improve your mental and emotional well-being and and reduce risk of depression.
  • Improve memory and reduce your risk of dementia.
  • Boost bone strength and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Prevent weight gain

American Heart has a great article “why is Walking the Most Popular form of Exercise”. Which provides additional resources.

Want to create your own walking club American Heart has a article on this topic. Start or Join a Walking Club

Adding a pedometer is a great tool to help increase those steps. Pedometers aren’t 100% accurate but I believe it’s a great tool to help gauge your daily steps and set goals week to week to increase your weekly average steps. I love my Fitbit but here are some other budget friendly watches

Letsfit Fitness Tracker HR, Activity Tracker Watch with Heart Rate Monitor, IP67 Water Standard Smart Bracelet with Calorie Counter Pedometer Watch for Kids Women Men
Lintelek Fitness Tracker, Slim Activity Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor, IP67 Waterproof Step Counter, Calorie Counter, Pedometer for Kids, Women, Men and Gift
Fitbit Inspire HR Heart Rate & Fitness Tracker, One Size (S & L bands included)

Join the #OurHearts Movement

#OurHearts is an inspiring way for The Heart Truth®to get people across the country to join together with friends, family, coworkers and others in their community to prevent heart disease.

Heart disease was one of my families #1 killer along side diabetes. My dad had both. My dad’s passed away due to congestive heart failure (CHF) and an ejection fraction (EF) of 25%. Granted he had another diagnosis which exacerbated his CHF but his death was related to his heart disease.

The words can be misleading. “Heart Failure” doesn’t mean the heart has stopped working. It means it can’t pump properly—so it doesn’t fully support the body’s need for blood and oxygen. Heart Failure is a chronic condition that worsens over time and can lead to hospitalization and even death. Annually, more than 900,000 hospitalizations have a primary diagnosis of Heart Failure—that’s nearly 2 hospitalizations every minute.

Keep It Pumping,

My dad had a long history of heart related diagnosis’s. Heart attack in his early 50’s, triple heart bypass, multiple stents, CHF, and the list goes on. But I will never forget the day we were told his EF was at 25%, as a nurse my heart sunk I knew what this meant. But my world was crushed when we were told a EF of less than 30% means hospice care. Means there was nothing more they can do. My dad always had a saying, “I have one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel” and well I guess this is it.

I will never forget the fear in his eyes as we moved through the transition into hospice. My hero was dying and now it was time to make his last journey on earth peaceful and painless.

Being a women approaching my 50’s within a few years, I realize due to family genetics and being a women, I have a high risk of an attack. I make every effort to exercise, rest, reduce stress and eat healthy. Am I perfect, no but I try.

I am trying to fight against my family history of heart disease and hope I can change our family story.

The first step in fighting against heart disease is education and awareness, why I have made February my mission to help spread the word about #ourheart.

What Are Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

The information in this section came from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), click on the hyperlink to go learn more.

Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse. Important risk factors for heart disease are:

Some risk factors, such as age and family history of early heart disease, can’t be changed.

For women, age becomes a risk factor at 55. After menopause, women are more apt to get heart disease, in part because their body’s production of estrogen drops. Women who have gone through early menopause, either naturally or because they have had a hysterectomy, are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age who have not yet gone through menopause. Another reason for the increasing risk is that middle age is a time when women tend to develop risk factors for heart disease.

Family history of early heart disease is another risk factor that can’t be changed. If your father or brother had a heart attack before age 55, or if your mother or sister had one before age 65, you are more likely to get heart disease yourself. Preeclampsia is another heart disease risk factor that you can’t control. However, if you’ve had the condition, you should take extra care to try to control other heart disease risk factors.

Being more physically active and eating a healthy diet are important steps for your heart health. You can make the changes gradually, one at a time. But making them is very important.

You may wonder: If I have just one risk factor for heart disease—say, I’m overweight or I have high blood cholesterol—aren’t I more or less “safe”? Absolutely not. Each risk factor greatly increases a woman’s chance of developing heart disease. But having more than one risk factor is especially serious, because risk factors tend to “gang up” and worsen each other’s effects. So, the message is clear: Every woman needs to take her heart disease risk seriously—and take action now to reduce that risk.

My Message:

As a women, we tend to neglect ourselves because we are so busy taking care of others. We don’t have time to exercise or make time for your annual physical with your doctor. We are exhausted but keep going, chasing kids, parenting teenagers, working, cooking, caring for our parents, and etc. The list goes on, right?

Women your health is important! Find ways to add healthy habits into your lives. Find ways to relax and reduce stress, here is a great link to American Heart Association in reducing stress. Make 2020 about a healthier you!

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

“Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generatng that kind of energy toward yourself – if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself – it is very difficult to take care of another person. In the Buddhist teaching, it’s clear that to love oneself is the foundation of the love of other people. Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice.” ~ Nhat Hanh

Research has shown that having social support and personal networks makes getting regular physical activity, eating healthy, managing stress, and quitting smoking easier. During American Heart Month, assemble your squad and use #OurHearts to share how you’re working together to be heart healthy. NHLBI

Gather your family and friends, make a commitment to make some changes to prevent heart disease.

Please check these amazing resources.

  • Keep it Pumping – To learn more about CHF
  • NHLBI – Join the #OurHearts movement
  • NHLBI – Education and Awareness programs
  • NHLBI – Want to know the number of people affected by heart diease in your state
  • Skinny Taste – I find this site helpful in finding healthy recipes based on your nutritional needs and also provides weekly meal plans which is half the battle.
  • Go Red for Women – Learn more about women’s heart awareness
  • American Heart Association – Women’s health

Dedicating this page to my hero…..my DAD

Maintaining your weight is even harder!

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. See disclosure

Back in 2009, I decided I needed to lose weight. Not 100% due to vanity but about 90% due to fear of dying and 10% vanity. Let’s face it anyone who says they aren’t doing it for vanity is probably not 100% be honest. I have a family history of diabetes and heart disease which I 100% believe it was due to our family history of obesity. I get there are family genetic but the other common connection was obesity. With my dad having his first heart attack in his very early 50’s and as I approached 48, I knew deep down I needed to get healthy. Moving forward into 2010, I would say I was at my prime, lost a significant amount of weight and in the best physical shape. But someone forgot to tell me how hard maintaining a healthy weight is so hard!!

I struggle daily to not revert back my previous weight on the right hand in the pictures below. Obesity is a chronic disease, WAIT!!! WHAT??!! There is a lot of controversy around if obesity should or shouldn’t be classified as a disease. I am not here to support either side or give you my personal view. I am here to tell you that it’s hard! Being obese is hard, weight loss hard and maintaining is even harder!

Mid 2017, suddenly everything I did to maintain my weight loss stopped working! How can I work out 4 to 5 times a week and gain weight? How can I train for two half marathons and gain weight? How can I only eat 1200 calories and gain weight? How can I only eat more calories as instructed and gain weight? What the heck is going on here! Before I knew it, I had packed on 20 pounds. I was in tears. I was devastated. I worked so hard to not head in this direction. I didn’t overeat, I worked out religiously, I did everything right!!!

I had to reflect on what was happening during this time – Sold our home, signed a contract on a new home build, lost my dad, moved in with family for 6 months and then moved into our new home. Managing keeping the kids in their current schools which meant, commuting them to their old schools for 2 additional months. Lets add your typical family stress of raising a family, having a career, being a wife and friend, and whatever life came my way. Oh and how can I forget, dealing with some hormonal issues and the treatment was additional hormones.

Although, I was doing everything right, everything was going to so wrong with my weight. I had to focus more on my diet and make adjustments accordingly. I had to figure out how to manage my stress. Even though I had everything together and managing my stressful life, my body and mind was paying the price.

As I practice in managing my stress level, focusing on whole foods and HITT training, yoga, and practicing mindfulness. I love practicing Nidra and restorative yoga. Due to the hustle and bustle of life, attending a formal class is difficult but I found some great resources online. Slowly I am adding mindfulness into my daily routine. Slowly, the weight is coming back off. And when I say slow, I mean SSSLLLLLOOOOWWW!!!! I guess as one approaches their late 40’s, hormones is another battle to the fight against obesity.

For me managing obesity is about how I manage stress, getting enough sleep, and of course continue with healthy eating and exercise.

I am not perfect, I have failed many times, but I have to continue to focus on the “WHY” and the “WHAT”.

  • Why am I doing this? – To reduce my chances of a heart attack or diabetes.
  • Why should I care? – Because it’s prevalent in my family history. I am out to change history
  • What do I get out of it? – I feel better. I can climb mountains and uphill with a 30 pound pack. I can snowshoe. I can run.
  • What must I do daily to maintain? – Reduce stress, practice mindfulness, eat healthy, drink water, exercise, and most importantly have people in your life who support you and lift you up, no matter your weight.

Please realize all this above is balanced with still enjoying good food, wine, and gourmet cheese but on occasion 🙂 Since I haven’t figured out how to drink more wine and lose weight.

Just remember, this is your journey and I can promise you will stumble but you must be ready with a plan on getting back up, reevaluate what is going on and make changes accordingly.

My Amazon finds:

Yoga Download – Take Yoga Anywhere

As I search how to include more Yoga in my life for 2020, I found Yoga Download. Click below to take you to their website and check them out. T

This post may contain affiliate links. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. See disclosure

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