Friday, January 28, 2011

6 Ways to Reduce Stress and Protect Your Heart

Hello everyone I hope you are all having a very healthy week so far!!

I found an excellent article from everyday health that I thought would
be great to share!!


People with heart health concerns should be especially careful about managing the different sources of stress in their lives. The body's natural response to stress can increase your heart rate, raise your blood pressure, and release stress hormones, according to experts at the Journal of American Medicine Association. Stress also forces the heart muscle to work harder.

The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that acute and chronic stress may also affect other risk factors and behaviors, such as high cholesterol levels, a person's inclination toward smoking, the urge to overeat, and lack of interest in physical activity. Robert Ostfeld, MD, M.Sc., an associate professor of clinical medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, adds that stress can put a strain on blood vessels and predispose a person to heart disease. "It's not healthy for you heart," says Dr. Ostfeld, "but there are a variety of techniques that can help you reduce the stress in your life."

1.  Build a Support System

Start by talking to your spouse, family, and close friends about your health and your aspirations to manage the stress in your life. They may be able to help you take on, reduce, or alleviate certain stressors. You may also consider joining a support group for people with similar heart-related health conditions or starting individual counseling to help you learn more effective ways for tackling stressful situations.

2.  Recognize Your Stress Triggers

Learn to identify the things in your life that trigger stress — the workload at your job, frustrating relationships with family members or friends, driving in traffic, fear revolving around your health condition — and try to figure out ways to either avoid those triggers, or cope better with them through improved communication, deep breathing exercises, anger management, or even talk therapy.

3.  Schedule in 'Time-Outs'

Ostfeld suggests making a concerted effort to take time out of your day to relax. It can be as easy as taking 20 minutes to simply sit and think, to take a bath, or engage in an activity that sooths you, like reading, doing a crossword puzzle, or practicing some yoga.

4.  Find Fun Stress-Relieving Activities

Jogging, cycling, swimming, and walking a dog are examples of physical activities that are not only good for your overall health, but are also smart ways to reduce stress, according to Ostfeld. Choose an activity (or several) that you enjoy and do them regularly to keep your stress levels under control, but be sure to check with your physician before starting any exercise regimen.

5.  Soothe Your Soul With Music

Music can go a long way in improving your mood on your commute to work, at the office, while working out, or even while grocery shopping. When you're starting to feel the effects of stress, turn to your favorite songs, playlists, or station on the radio. "Listening to calming music," Ostfeld adds, "may also lower blood pressure."

6.  Learn How to Say "No"

One of the best ways to manage the stress in your life is to avoid taking on more responsibilities or social obligations. Set boundaries with family members or friends, be assertive when it comes to your workload and hours, and plan your schedule so you have the time you need to get things done. "Structure your life in a way that helps you manage stress," suggests Ostfeld. "And don't sweat the small stuff."

Hope this article helps everyone out
Have a great and very healthy rest of the week and weekend :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Changing Up Your Exercise Routine Often

Hello everyone I hope you all have all had a great start to 2011 so far.
I thought It would be a great time to write a little bit about changing up our exercise routine so we don't get bored and fall off the wagon which we all know can happen from time to time. 

What I have been doing lately which has kept my daily exercising fresh is to have several different activities instead of doing the same thing day in and day out.

I belong to 24 hour fitness that is close to my place and also have access to a gym at my work which makes it very convenient to get my exercise in.  I try to get in 1 hour or more of exercise on a daily basis. I go on long walks in my neighborhood, hit golf balls on the driving range, play basketball, walk on the treadmill at the gym, use the elliptical machine at the gym, life weights 3 days a week at the gym, take various exercise classes offered at the gym that are all about 60 minutes long, go to the beach especially in the summer for walks on the boardwalk, and I get paid to ride a bike at work 4 out of my 5 days a week which keeps me in pretty good shape.

By doing this it keeps me interested in working out on a daily basis and it doesn't get boring since I mix it up quite a bit.  I'm also working on getting a new 3 day weight lifting routine set up since I've been doing the same one for over 1 year now.

So a big tip I would recommend is to have several different exercise activities that you enjoy which will keep you away from being bored of doing the same exercises day in and day out!!!