What Step Forward Did You Take Today?

What steps forward did you take today to improve your health? Your goal should be continuous improvement. Small steps everyday will lead to big changes over time in your health and fitness. For example, cutting 100 calories a day from your diet can lead to a 10 pound weight loss over a year. What did you do today? Did you exercise? Did you try a new vegetable? Did you try a new healthy recipe? Did you not eat that dessert? By making continual small changes, new habits over time will be formed. The goal is to develop new healthy habits that become automatic. Reading these posts are not enough! You need to use the information to make changes in your life. Go back and read old posts. Review the information. Do something today! There is nothing you can do about yesterday. It is in the past. Tomorrow is always in the future. Today is the only day you can effect right now. Action is the key. Commit to making small changes everyday. Before you know it, major changes such as weight loss or lower cholesterol levels will manifest themselves. Do not procrastinate anymore. Seize the day!

Brand New Drug Approved by FDA – Look at all the Benefits!

A brand new drug was recently FDA approved. It is being hailed as a wonder drug! It has been studied in several large randomized trials and shows clear benefit. It is quite safe and effective – there are almost no side effects. It is sure to benefit many people. Look at all the documented benefits:

* tones muscles

* increases energy

* improves your waistline and posture

* prevents loss of bone density/osteoporosis

* relieves stress

* burns calorires

* helps keep weight off

* helps to improve your mood

* improves your cognition & helps prevent memory loss/dementia

* makes you look and feel younger

* reduces risk of heart attack and stroke

* reduces blood pressure

* reduces blood pressure

What is the name of this new drug? What pharmacy will carry it? Where can I go to get a prescription?

Well, the drug we are referring to here is exercise. Twenty to thirty minutes of aerobic exercise a day will achieve most of these results. Daily physical activity is critical to our good health! Our bodies were made to move. We were not created to sit on the couch and watch TV all day long. There are no excuses. Do what you can to start out with and build up over time. Options include walking, jogging, swimming, aerobics, bicycling, playing tennis or basketball, or any other activity which gets your heart rate up for an extended period of time. If a pharmaceutical company was able to put all these benefits in a pill, it would hailed as the next wonder drug of the century. It would be worth billions of dollars. It would surely be quite expensive. The good news is that exercise is available right now for everyone to participate in and it is quite cheap. Begin today, and reap all the benefits stated above. Do not waste another day!

Prevention vs. Early Detection – A Big Difference

There is a big difference between early detection and prevention. This is an important concept to understand. Many women think getting a mammogram is prevention. It is not prevention. A mammogram will pick up a cancer that has already formed, but will not prevent it. Mammograms are important for detecting breast cancer at an early stage. Once a mammogram detects a cancer, it has actually been growing for a while. It takes years to grow to a detectable size. Furthermore, colonoscopies are also important for picking up cancer at an early stage. Just like mammograms, they will not prevent colon cancer. Early detection, including mammograms and colonoscopies, is clearly important, as most cancers are much more treatable the earlier they are detected. On the other hand, it is obviously better to prevent cancer or heart disease in the first place. There are many ways to help prevent many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. First of all, diet is a critical component of prevention. A diet low in saturated fat and filled with various complex carbs can help prevent many chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, hypertension and diabetes. Fruits and vegetables are filled with fiber and phytonutrients to help ward off these diseases. The more colors and varieties of fruits and vegetables the better. Good examples include broccoli, cauliflower, blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, and kale just to name a few. Exercise is also important to preventing many chronic diseases. Regular aerobic exercise can help prevent both heart disease and cancer. All it takes is at least 20-30 minutes every other day. Walking, swimming, jogging, rowing, and playing tennis are all great aerobic activities. Get moving! Finally, obesity is a major cause of many chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease. Obesity is felt to be one of the largest causes of breast cancer in women. You must know your BMI (body mass index). Your initial goal should be less than 30. Your long term goal should be 25. Most chronic diseases are now preventable! Do not wait for bad news. It is much better to prevent heart disease and cancer to begin with, versus dealing with them once they occur. Take control of your health and live a long and healthy life.

 

Start Today!

Start today. Do not procrastinate any longer. You know who you are. Take a small step today. All journeys begin with a single step. Eat some more fruits or vegetables. Reduce your soft drink intake. Cut down on your calories. Go for a walk. Set a quit date for quitting smoking. Do something. Remember, your goals should be long term. Change should be gradual over time. Make sure you make a small change every day, including today. Seize the day! Multiple small changes over time add up to big changes over the long run. Weight loss should be slow and gradual. Quick weight loss never lasts. Increase you exercise time. Exercise endurance will begin to increase slowly over time. Exercise will become easier and easier. You will begin to notice that you have more energy, improved moods, and greater endurance as you continue. The key though, is to begin today. Do not delay! Start to develop new habits that will last a lifetime and will lead to lasting change. Do not put this off until tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family or friends. Just do it! Never give up!

Think Progress and Not Perfection

Your thinking and goals when improving your health should be long term. You should look at the process as a marathon and not a sprint. Unfortunately, our society tends to be very short term focused. We want results today. We want to lose 50lbs in 1 week by taking magic pills. Unfortunately, this way of thinking will ultimately lead to failure and frustration. Think consistent progress. Start by making small, but consistent changes. For example, start by slowly reducing the amount of red meat you eat, or slowly reduce the amount of cheese you eat. Add fiber slowly into your diet. Eat more fruits and vegetables each and every day. Your thinking should be the same for exercise. Start by walking a few days a week for 10-15 minutes. Slowly increase your duration to 30-45 minutes. You can then slowly increase your frequency – your goal should be every other day, if possible. Start lifting light weights to build muscle mass and to strengthen your bones. Over time these small changes will start to build on each other and lead to big changes. Your weight will slowly start to decrease. Your blood pressure will drop. Your cholesterol will drop. Your blood sugar will drop. You may even begin to require less medication. You will feel better and have increased energy. Remember though, perfection is not the goal. If you have a bad meal or a bad day, just restart the next day. Do not become frustrated. Never give up! Continue to make small, but consistent changes. Make sure you focus on the long term and consistency. Small, but consistent changes will lead to large changes over time. Over the long term you will succeed.

Ten Great Reasons to Exercise Today!

1. Exercise makes your heart stronger.

2. Exercise helps you to lose weight and to maintain a healthy weight.

3. Exercise decreases your inflammation levels (C reactive protein levels).

4. Exercise helps to reduce your blood sugar and prevent diabetes.

5. Exercise decreases your blood pressure naturally.

6. Exercise boosts the immune system and helps you to stay healthy.

7. Exercise helps relieve arthritis.

8. Exercise increases your cognitive abilities and memory.

9. Exercise helps to stengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis.

10. Exercise leads to the release of endorphins in your brain, which improves your mood and helps to fight depression.

With all these great benefits from regular exercise, there is no reason not to start today. Go for a walk, ride a bicycle, swim, or play tennis. Do what ever you enjoy. Have fun! Get active and reap all these great benefits!

Cardiovascular Disease and Inflammation

Cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis) is an inflammatory process. Blockages in the arteries are like little pockets of inflammation. A good way to visualize atherosclerosis is like little “pimples” in the arteries filled with pus. If these “pimples” burst a heart attack or stroke can occur.  A good way to measure your inflammation level and your risk of heart attack or stroke is a blood test called C reactive protein (CRP). CRP is a non-fasting blood test. A level less than 1.0 puts you at low risk. 1-3 is considered average risk. Greater than 3.0 is high risk. Interestingly, people with “normal” cholesterol levels but high CRP levels are at increased risk for cardiovascular events. There are several ways to lower your CRP and thus, your risk. Exercise and weight loss are excellent ways to lower CRP. Regular aerobic exercise is a great way to lower your CRP levels. At least 20-30 minutes every other day is the minimum. Aspirin lowers CRP and lowers risk of heart attack and stroke. Statin medications (Lipitor, Crestor, ect.) lower levels of inflammation. Many think statins work more by lowering inflammation levels and less from lowering cholesterol levels. Eating a good diet is important for lowering inflammation. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients, help reduce inflammation levels. There is no such thing as eating too many fruits and vegetables! Avoid sugar which is pro-inflammatory. Avoid omega 6 fats (which are found in many oils and baked products) which are pro-inflammatory. Omega 3 fats, on the other hand, are anti-inflammatory. Omega 3 fats are found in fish oil, wild salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts. Make sure your inflammation level is checked and work on lowering it if necessary to reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Always talk with your personal physician before beginning or stopping any medications or supplements.