ROBERT MORRIS PSYCHIATRIC NURSE PRACTIONER STUDENTS
David Williams, DNP, FNP-C
Daniel Dulaney, RN, BSN
Exercise has been identified as an important way to stay healthy. When we exercise we lower our risk for heart attacks, strokes or brain attacks, and diabetes as well as lower our blood pressure and our cholesterol. Not only does exercise have medical benefits, exercising helps us feel better about ourselves, decrease depression, and make us look better. But how much exercise is enough to start to see these benefits? First before starting any exercise program, you should speak with your primary care provider to make sure that you are healthy enough to start an exercise routine. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) we should exercise 150 minutes a week with moderate exercise or 75 minutes a week with vigorous, heart pumping and sweating, exercise. So for a moderate exercise routine, you are looking at 30 minutes per day, five days a week or vigorous exercise 25 minutes a day three days a week. If you are looking to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, we recommend vigorous exercise 40 minutes per day three to four times per week. Don’t think you can find 30 minutes in a row several days each week? That’s ok. Split the time up into three 10 minute workouts or two 15 minute work outs.
So what kind of exercises can you do? After discussing your plan with your primary care provider, you have countless options. One option is to go for a walk. The best thing about this option is that walking is free, easy, does not require special equipment, and can be a social activity done with a friend. Even in the cold winter months you can bundle up and go for a walk. If fact, walking through snow increases the number of calories you burn. Don’t feel like going outside? Walk up and down steps, find an indoor pool, find some friends and play a sport, or run around and play with your kids. You would be surprised how many activities there are and how quickly the time adds up to 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Your body will thank you, you will feel better about yourself, and you will live a healthier life.
Have questions or need more ideas? Visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org and click on Getting Healthy.
Eating correctly can greatly reduce your risk of developing cardio-vascular diseases. Heart disease is the number one killer of people throughout the nation with over 600,000 preventable deaths a year. The best way to avoid getting cardio vascular diseases is getting enough exercise and eating right. Some of the best foods to eat are fruits and vegetables. French fries and apple juice don’t count in this category. Over 25% of the vegetables eaten in the United States are potatoes which are often fried in high fat oil. Potatoes do have plenty of nutrition, but this sometimes can get lost in the frying process. Adding fresh vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, onions, and many many others, is a great way to get the nutrition your body needs to stay healthy. There are so many vegetables out there, that you simply can’t say “I don’t like vegetables,” because chances are, you haven’t eaten all of them! Whole grains is another term thrown around a lot and should be eaten regularly. Whole grains contain a lot of fiber that help your body flush out the old food that is in your belly and keep you regular. Meet is sometimes controversial. The best way to select meet is to find local, farm raised products. The helps to cut down on the processing that is found in some meets. Eating lean beef and chicken is a great way to get protein. But did you know that eating three servings of fish per week greatly reduces your risks of cardio vascular diseases too! This is because certain fish contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. Another thing to watch out for when you go grocery shopping is hidden ingredients. Sugar and salt are in about everything that you buy that isn’t fresh. The sugar can be seen as “added sugar” and can affect your body in very dangerous ways. Foods that contain added sugar are breakfast cereals, soda pop, potato chips, and any thing with an ingredient called high fructose corn syrup. This is sugar that comes from corn and makes everything super sweet. Salt can be found in just about everything that is processed such as deli meats, frozen meals/food, snacks, and the salt that you add to your own foods at home. Reducing the amount of salt and sugar has shown to be beneficial to your health. Alcohol is yet another source of heart disease causing agents. If you do drink, do so responsibly by having no more than one drink per day for a woman, or two drinks a day if you are a man.
That covered the basic food groups, but don’t forget about eating lots of nuts and legumes. A legume is a peanut and certain beans. These can lower cholesterol and help prevent heart disease. Also, when cooking, try to avoid tropical oils like palm oil. Some of the best kinds of cooking oil are canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil and sesame oil, but that can be spicy depending on what you out it on. So when it comes to eating right, be smart, be simple. Shop at a local grocery store that has local produce and meats. Cook without high fat oils, use less salt and sugar and don’t forget to exercise!
For more information, please visit the American Heart Association’s website, and MyPlate.gov.