Archive for January, 2012

Women: February Is Heart Health Month.

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Did you know the #1 cause of death in women is heart disease? Not to scare you, by any means, but seeing as February is National Heart Health Month, it’s important to know cardiovascular wellness is an issue that should be taken seriously by everyone.

Not just men.

The good news about heart health, though, is that even simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in reducing your risk of heart disease and improving your health.

Here are five doctor approved tips to helping your heart health:

- Quit Smoking:

One of the biggest risk factors for heart disease is smoking. Smoking raises your blood pressure, lowers the oxygen levels in your blood, and raises your cholesterol. All three of these negative impacts from smoking increase your risk for heart disease, and even heart attacks. Conversely, studies show that people who quit see improvements in as little as 24 hours after quitting, with the long-term benefits continuing to help a quitter’s heart as far as 10-years down the road!

- Eat Healthier:

A healthy diet, balanced with fruits and vegetables and fish is one of the best paths to losing weight and improving heart health. Avoid fried foods when you can, as studies have shown the trans fat in fried food leads to a greater risk of heart failure.

- Drink in moderation:

Studies are beginning to reveal evidence that having a glass of red wine may, in fact, be good for you heart. However, too much alcohol on a daily basis can raise your blood pressure and lead to heart disease.

- Exercise:

Aerobic activities, or activities that raise your heart rate over 100 BPM (beats per minute) can help strengthen your heart and keep it in good shape. After all, your heart is your body’s biggest muscle! But, it doesn’t have to be a “Rocky” style 6-mile jog through the city to help your heart. Studies have shown that a brisk 30-minute walk each day can lead to better heart health.

- Stress Management:

Stress is one of the most common risk factors for heart disease in both men and women. Whether it’s work or home life, many of us experience stress on a daily basis. Unfortunately, stress also takes a toll on your physical well-being just as much as it mentally wears you out. But, coming to the conclusion that we all will experience stress at certain times in our lives, and finding ways to manage our stress and deal with it more properly can lead to better happiness and health!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Study: “Exergames” Could Reduce Chances of Mild Cognitive Impairments.

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

 

A recent study, published in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, explored the theory that exercise which incorporates a virtual reality component to it was more beneficial to senior’s cognition than traditional exercise.

The study tracked the exercise habits of 102 seniors from eight different retirement communities who were randomly assigned either regular exercise, or exercising with cycles equipped with televisions that showed virtual “cyclists” traveling through different terrains.

Throughout the course of the study, the participants were given a series of tests that measured cognition and brain functions.

The results of the study supported the hypothesis, in that the participants who exercised with the “virtual bicycles” showed a more reduced decline in cognition than those who did not use the bikes.

In fact, scientists concluded that “Cybercyclists (or, those exercising with the virtual reality enhancement) had a 23% relative risk reduction in clinical progression to MCI. Exercise effort and fitness were comparable, suggesting another underlying mechanism.”

It seems logical that any exercise that incorporates even greater activity of the brain, such as adding a virtual reality component, could be beneficial in improving cognition. But, improvements of cognition to the effect that this study shows could really change the way that we exercise for our health.

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