Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
Minimizing your cardiovascular risk factors can improve the quality of and prolong your life. Changing your lifestyle is the best and only way to live longer and feel better.
Changing your lifestyle requires effort. A physician can prescribe drug therapy that will decrease your risk factors. The problem lies in the fact that many people do not change their lifestyle once they begin their drug therapy. The risk factor is being controlled, but it still remains. If an effort were made to embrace a healthy lifestyle, many would not have to take prescription medications.
The medical community is learning that prescribing exercise and weight loss means nothing more than lip service to most patients. Physicians were trained to diagnose and treat medical conditions, not to educate on exercise and weight loss. More physicians are referring patients to specialists in weight loss, exercise and lifestyle management. Lifestyle modifications are more successful if they are taught instead of harped on. You can make changes on your own. However, compliance tends to improve if you have someone to hold you accountable on a frequent basis.
Exercise is nature’s way to keeping you healthy. Twenty-plus minutes each day will add years to your life. Walking is the most basic, simple way to reduce cardiovascular risk factors. Everyone can spare some time to do physical activity. Accumulating time throughout the day can be beneficial as well. If you can only spare 10 minutes a few times each day, make the best of it. Go for a brisk walk. Throw in some pushups and crunches. Take the stairs or jog in place. Perform activities that incorporate large muscles and increase your heart rate. Done consistently, time spent exercising will help you feel better.
Consuming less dietary saturated fat and increasing fiber will slow disease. In addition, you’ll lose weight by decreasing calories. Research has indicated that a small salad before a meal helps most eat less of the main course. This result means fewer calories consumed and translates into more weight loss. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption will provide vital nutrients and fiber for improved heart health. When choosing breakfast cereal, pick one with more than five grams of fiber per serving. Add some raisins, blueberries, or other seasonal fruit to add flavor and fiber.
Stress can kill. A great way to neutralize stress is to follow the two tips above: exercise and eat better. Take a meditation or yoga class, lift weights, swim, bike, run, spin, repeat positive affirmations, or anything else that helps you unwind. Find something that works for you and do it consistently.
These simple tips can improve your quality and length of life if practiced consistently. Share your experiences with a friend so they may help themselves.
Chris Davies, MS, owns Fitness Solutions, Inc. He can be reached at Fitsolu