260318 Lower your blood pressure

260318 Lower your blood pressure

High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer because its effects are rarely felt until the disease has progressed to a dangerous level.

Here is a list of four things that you can do to potentially lower your blood pressure.

If you weigh too much, lose weight.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Can you see the fat hanging off your stomach and sides? Can you pinch more of an inch on your sides? If so, you need to lose weight. Can you see your toes? If not, you need to lose weight. Is your body mass index in the obese range? If so, lose weight.

With a 10% reduction in your weight, you will notice reductions in your blood pressure numbers.

Start becoming more physically active.

If your prime source of entertainment is watching TV, working on the computer, or socializing at the local tavern then it is time to get off your butt and get moving. Being physically active goes hand-in-hand with losing weight and they each complement one another.

Reduce eating foods that are high in salt and sodium.

Began with an inventory of the foods in your house. Look at the labels. Are they high in sodium? Do you have stacks of potato chips in the cupboards? Is there bacon and sausage in your refrigerator?

You can reduce the salt you eat by cooking your own food and not adding salt when you eat at the table. Canned vegetables, according to their labels, contain an overly high amount of sodium. You can eliminate much of this by rinsing the vegetables before you cook them. This removes much of the salty juices that contribute to the high salt content of the food.

Cut back on the alcohol you drink.

Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and generally, when you are drinking, you are with friends socializing and eating crap food. More than likely the food you eat during these times contains a lot of fat and salt.

If you already have high blood pressure and are taking medications, do not stop these medications until you talk with your doctor.

190318 Low salt diets-good or bad for your health?

190318 Low salt diets-good or bad for your health?

Contrary to recent news articles suggesting that the low-salt diets are not helpful studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that one high salt meal of 1500 mg of sodium (this is at the upper end of the recommendations suggested by the US dietary guidelines for a full-day), reduces the ability of the blood vessels to dilate. Even though blood pressure is not affected, this reduction in dilation ability in healthy people was noted within thirty minutes of the meal.

High sodium loads in the body of people with impaired heart functioning can start a heart failure incident, which may lead to death. Not only is excessive salt hard on your blood vessels, it also affects your bones, kidneys, and your stomach.

The system within your body that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance is also involved in bone health. It appears as though a high sodium intake increases the elimination of calcium through the urine. This in turn causes calcium to be leached from the bone with the attending bone loss and increased risk bone fractures. It’s well known that reducing the salt intake has a positive effect on the bodies calcium balance. For this reason, a low-sodium diet may help slow the progression of age-related bone loss. Not only is the skeletal system adversely affected by high sodium, so are your kidneys.

In many people, additional salt contributes to hypertension which is a major cause of kidney dysfunction and even failure. Evidence collected from the studies of animals and humans lead directly to the contention that salt may, in some people, directly impair kidney function. Another side effect of increased calcium in the urine, see the previous paragraph, and high sodium intake is a potentially higher risk of kidney stones. The story doesn’t end there. Some studies have linked higher salt to cancers and ulcers of the stomach.

The stomach isn’t the only soft tissue organ that may be adversely affected by a high sodium diet, others are the colon and the rectum. According to the research, the evidence is not extremely clear but it is thought that the salty foods adversely affect the stomach lining and make it more likely that bacterium H.pylori can affect the tissues of lining. This bacterium is when the major cause of ulcers and stomach cancer something that most of us may want to avoid. Other findings theorize that the salty stomach environment could be altering the structure of the H.pylori and increases its ability to continue to live and do more damage to the stomach.

120318 Several shorter workouts per day may help control pre-hypertension

120318 Several shorter workouts per day may help control pre-hypertension

A small study reported in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that several shorter exercise periods spaced four hours apart were more beneficial than doing one long session. The participants in the study walked briskly for ten minutes, three times a day with four hours separating each session.

The next day they walked a continuous thirty minutes. This alternating pattern continued throughout the length of the study as did constant around the clock blood pressures monitoring for each person. The results clearly showed that several shorter ten-minute sessions during the day created lower blood pressure readings and fewer high blood pressure spikes throughout the day.

Earlier research has shown that short accumulative sessions of exercise help to control weight, increase bone mineral density, and assist in lowering both blood pressure and blood sugar levels, along with decreasing the cholesterol levels. However, these are not the only beneficial aspects of exercising, there are others.

Exercise releases endorphins; the chemicals that make you feel good and counteract the negative effects of adrenalines brought on by stress. Endorphins work by relaxing the muscles and help to dilate the vessels in the circulatory system.

Further advantages of exercise result in the production of lower levels of stress hormones released into the body, lower increases in heart rate and blood pressure when under stress.

These non-intrusive, short time exercise periods help you to stay more consistent with your exercise compliance over lengthy periods. This means your health should continue to improve over time.

190218 Blood pressure, daily walking and the connection with being overweight

190218 Blood pressure, daily walking and the connection with being overweight

If you are overweight, then daily walking may not dramatically decrease your blood pressure. The healthy benefits that walking has on the blood vessels of a normal weight person may be lost on the overweight individual.

In general, terms this means that your arteries are not widening and the blood flow is not improved with walking, thus your blood pressure may not change to more optimum numbers.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern conducted a study that analyzed over 35,000 Caucasian men and women. Each person in the study had regular checkups that included measurements of their Body Mass Index (BMI), and readings of their systolic blood pressure each visit. Additionally these participants exercised at each visit so their fitness levels could be assessed. The results may give anyone who is overweight a reason to reassess their situation.

The results were published in the American heart journal and they revealed that a normal weight person had an average of 12 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure than one who was obese. The blood pressure of the fittest was only 6 mmHg lower than for those who were least fit. Still, that wasn’t all they found.

After analyzing the blood pressure, BMI, and fitness data of the participants, they found that physical fitness was an important element in lowering blood pressure in those of a normal weight person. However, it was not as effective of a component in those who were overweight. Interestingly enough, many in this overweight group were physically fit yet their blood pressure was still high.

The take-home message here certainly indicates that diet alone may not help lower your blood pressure. The combination of losing weight, by engaging in regular exercise, and calorie counting will need to be in place before you begin to notice the beneficial effects of exercise on lowering your blood pressure.

120218 Blood pressure statistics and exercise suggestions for your information

120218 Blood pressure statistics and exercise suggestions for your information

By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A. CSCS

High blood pressure is the direct cause of thousands of needless deaths a year. Here are just a few of the facts about hypertension.

  • 878,421 people died if cardiovascular disease and stroke in 2000. Or one in CVD for every 313 Americans who died.
  • 90% of 55 year olds will develop hypertension in their lifetime.
  • 50 million Americans have Hypertension, one out or every five of us!
  • The higher the blood pressure the higher the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney disease.
  • In adults over 50 systolic numbers over 140 is an important number to stay below.

Systolic/Diastolic

  • Optimal: under 120 under 80

See a doctor for any of the following:

  • Pre-hypertensive: 120/39-80-89
  • 140-159 or 90-99
  • 160-179 or 100-109
  • 180-209 or 110-119
  • 210 or more 120 or more

Signs of hypertension:

  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Vision changes or problems
  • Excessive sweating
  • Paleness or redness of the skin
  • Nosebleeds
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Palpitations
  • Ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • Impotence
  • Headaches

Stressors

  • Lack of Exercise
  • Smoking

Weight control

  • Diet
  • Alcohol
  • Loud, consistent noises

High blood pressure causes:

  • Death from stroke
  • Coronary events
  • Heart failure

Mitigating measures:

  • Reduce sodium intake
  • Maintain adequate intake of potassium
  • Follow the DASH diet
  • Maintain adequate intake of calcium and magnesium
  • Reduce dietary intake of saturated fats and cholesterol
  • Smoking-cut back or stop
  • Weight control-get within normal range
  • Diet-follow doctors advise
  • Stressors-eliminate or mitigate
  • Alcohol-cut back
  • Loud, consistent noises-protect yourself

DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION UNLESS AND UNTIL YOU CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR

Regular exercise:

  • Slows progression of renal failure
  • Prevents progression to more severe hypertension
  • Reduces all-cause mortality

Exercise methods used to control or reduce high blood pressure:

  • Resistance training
  • Muscular endurance
  • Circuits
  • 100’s
  • Rapid quick sessions
  • W:R of 1:1

Cardio training

  • 5-7 times per week
  • 20-40 minutes per session
  • 40%-70% @ maximum heart rate
  • 5-7 times per week
  • 10 minute bursts
  • Total time-30-45 minutes
  • 40%-70% @ maximum heart rate

“Losing 10 pounds will help remarkably” “If you don’t have time for physical activity, you will find time for illness.” Dr. Edward J. Roccella, coordinator of the National High Blood Pressure Education Program.

050218 Blood Pressure Basics The effects of exercise on blood pressure

050218 Blood Pressure Basics The effects of exercise on blood pressure

By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A. CSCS

High blood pressure is the direct cause of thousands of needless deaths a year. Here are just a few of the facts about hypertension.

Dr. Laura Svetkey, director of the Duke Hypertension Center at Duke University states. “Americans can keep blood pressure low if they: keep trim, exercise, cut back on saturated fats, limit alcohol and sodium, increase dietary potassium and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables”. http://www.bupa.co.uk/

There are positive, and negative, effects on our blood pressure when we exercise or exert ourselves physically and/or mentally.

Blood pressure is the measure of the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. One in FIVE Americans has Hypertension. Many do not even know they have it, thus the term “the silent killer” It is not uncommon for young people to have hypertension.

Blood pressure is measured by stopping the blood flow for a few seconds and then beginning again. The amount of pressure the monitor detects accurately reflects the resistance your heart is pushing against each time it beats. The monitor works in the following fashion:

The arm cuff is placed on the upper arm or forearm. The brachial artery is then pinched off to stop the flow of blood. The circulation is briefly cut off, and then the air is let out of the cuff. The first heartbeat heard is the Systolic and the last one heard is the Diastolic.

Systolic pressure is the upper number in the formula

  • When the heart contracts to pump out the blood. Pressure is highest during this phase of the process

Diastolic pressure is the lower number.

  • The heart relaxes after pumping. Pressure drops to its lowest point just before a new beat.

Pre-hypertensive

Previously pressure readings below 130/85 were considered normal.

Previously readings above 130-139 over 85-89 were considered to be in the high normal range.

150218 An introduction to Tai Chi part 2 of 2

150218 An introduction to Tai Chi part 2 of 2 

There are different styles of Tai-Chi, some are more aggressive than others and involve faster paced movements. Those most commonly practiced utilize gentle slower motions that are suitable for everyone.

As with anything in life there are positives and negatives in the practice of Tai-Chi. The pros seem to outweigh the cons though in these respects:

  • The movements are self-paced and non competitive, which to a competitive person may be a negative attribute.
  • The physical space requirements are negligible as well as the attire. You don’t need a lot of space or fancy gear to take part in Tai-Chi. It’s easy to do; you can do it anyplace and anytime either alone or with others. Once you become accustomed to the activity and more proficient in the art then you can add in your own to make it even more individualized and specific to your needs.

The negatives are almost non existent but do include the usual warnings of possible soreness if the first few sessions are overdone beyond your current physical fitness levels.

Beginning a new activity starts with learning how to do it correctly. In the case of Tai-Chi this will mean seeking out a competent instructor who will guide you in the technical aspects of posture and movement. Pay strict attention to your breathing and body position throughout the training session. Develop the ability to perform the motions effortlessly and without conscious thought. Doing so helps avert muscle strains and damaged joints.

Tai-Chi classes are taught throughout the world. In the United States contact your local senior center, the YWCA or YMCA or check with the gyms in your area. You can even look it up on the internet; there are scores of sites listed.

080218 An introduction to Tai-Chi part 1 of 2

080218 An introduction to Tai-Chi part 1 of 2

Tai-Chi is an ancient art that uses a series of gentle continuous movements which place an emphasis on joint leverage based on coordination and relaxation instead of muscular tension. Practioners of the art have discovered increased balance control, flexibility and cardiovascular benefits. The elderly have reduced their risk of falling after learning and applying Tai-Chi training practices.

Healthy individuals also have reported reduced pain while using Tai-Chi as an alternative exercise method along with lowered blood pressure readings, decreased pain from arthritis and the effects of multiple sclerosis.

Progressively self paced, Tai-Chi is a noncompetitive gentle exercise that is performed in a very specific defined series of movements and postures. Each of which flows gracefully and slowly from one to another without a pause.

A major benefit to older people is the reductions in falls that accompany the art of Tai-Chi due to the increased enhancement of their balance and coordination skills. Since these movements are low impact they place minimal stress on the joints and muscles which is ideal in some situations for those with advanced arthritis or osteoporosis.

Anecdotally the relationship of Tai-Chi to reduced stress, increased flexibility, improved muscle strength and definition along with the development of greater energy, stamina and agility are well documented. These benefits all contribute to a greater sense of well being. However the art has not been scientifically studied until recently. The findings, thus far, are supportive of the anecdotal reports.

The scientific research into Tai-Chi have indicated reduced anxiety and depression, improved balance and coordination which helps to reduce falls in those prone to falling and improved sleep patterns. The time spent in sleeping was found to be longer and with greater alertness reported during the following day.

Practicing Tai-Chi was shown to slow bone loss in post menopausal women an especially important issue to those with osteopenia or osteoporosis. It also reduced high blood pressure and improved cardiovascular fitness along with providing relief from chronic pain. All of these healthy benefits made for better daily living functioning.

171017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky? (1 of 3)

171017 Are you contemplating losing weight or does your spouse just call you Chunky?

The problem

Nearly every newspaper or magazine on the stands has an article about the obesity problem in today’s modern society. In case you are not aware of the dangers of being overweight here are just a few of the conditions that can have a major impact on your quality of life and on your lifespan. Obesity increases your chance of developing heart disease, hypertension, type two diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma, and sleep disorders.

Losing weight can oftentimes help prevent these diseases from occurring. As you begin your self-examination, two potential areas of concern rise to the top of the list: ‘Fat location’ and ‘Fat surplus’. Fat storage locations in the body are a leading predictor of things to come.

The where

An ‘apple shaped’ (android obesity) body style carries the weight around the waist and will present more health risks than will be a ‘Pear shaped’ (gynoid obesity) or one who carries the weight around their hips. Most overweight males carry their weight around their stomachs. This is not good, but there are ways to tell where you are carrying a predominant amount of your fat in case you haven’t noticed yourself in the mirror. “There is a positive correlation between the abdominal fat content and the waist circumference measurement”. All of the fat clings like glue to your organs; it just hangs around in there doing nothing but harm.

050917 More benefits of exercise

050917 More benefits of exercise

Exercise has been cited as being beneficial for avoiding, lessening, and mitigating a vast array of diseases in the past. Now, new research is confirming even more of these exercise related benefits for those who choose to follow this path to better health.

According to a recent report from Duke University, working out directly affects your heart. You may reduce your risk of developing heart disease up to 25% by doing 750 minutes of high intense minutes each week. By doing 300 minutes of intense exercise you lower your risk of heart disease by 20% and exercising 150 minutes per week lowers the risk by 14%.

Despite scientific research and the medical expert’s advising exercise to manage the pain of arthritis, up to 90% of those with arthritis fail to meet even the standards of 150 minutes of exercise per week. Of this 90%, nearly half get no exercise at all. They are inactive.

Boost your memory with movement.

Aerobic exercise pushes the rate of circulation up and this helps to increase the flow of oxygen rich blood into your brain. A study of almost 300 older people found that of those who walked at least 72 blocks, about 4 miles and 880.0 yards, each week had more gray matter in their brain than those who did not walk or exercise each week. Those who were walking each day cut their risk in half of developing memory problems.

Achieve a calmer state of mind with exercise

Regular aerobic exercise tends to reduce an individual’s level of stress hormones, and decreases the amount of fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure when under duress. Some of the recommended ways of aerobically exercising are walking, running, swimming, biking, or any other activity that keeps your heart rate up and within the target range for up to 20-30 minutes a day.

Equally effective is resistance circuit training. This method involves doing a series of exercises without stopping for 3-6 times around a circuit-thus the name circuit training. It is most effective with the large muscle groups such as legs, chest, and back. As an example, when doing an intense lower body circuit, the series could look like this: do each exercise for 1 minute. Do this 3-6 times, if you are able.

  • Skip rope
    • Squats
    • Skip rope
    • Calve raises
    • Skip rope
    • Dead lifts
    • Skip rope

Obviously, before beginning any of these exercise suggestions consult with your doctor.