Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Heart-Healthy Exercise Habits

Heart-Healthy Exercise Habits
 
People always talk about how they're going to the gym to do some "cardio." 
What's that really mean? Whether they're running on a treadmill, riding the 
recumbent bicycle or 
using an elliptical machine, they're talking about doing aerobic exercise 
- otherwise known as 
cardio because of its profound cardiovascular benefits.
Plain and simple, when you're doing aerobic exercise, you're using oxygen 
to replenish energy stores,
 which means the heart and lungs are working harder and getting stronger in the process.
 By comparison, 
anaerobic exercise (for example, weight training), requires your body to create energy 
without using 
oxygen. 
Here are some of the other benefits of aerobic exercise:
* Increases blood supply to muscles and ability to utilize oxygen.
* Increases amount of blood pumped (per beat and per minute).
* Increases HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowers triglycerides.
* Increases blood supply to muscles.
* Reduces resting heart rate.
* Reduces resting systolic/diastolic blood pressure.
* Reduces high cholesterol and risk of developing high cholesterol.
To achieve the maximum cardiovascular benefit during aerobic activities, you should exercise for at 
least 20-30 minutes at a time and build to your "target heart rate" - this is a range of beats per 
minutethat represents approximately 60-85 percent of your maximum heart rate. The more time spent 
exercising within this safe range, the more you stand to gain, cardiovascularly speaking. 
Remember to always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program,particularly if you have 
any pre-existing heart condition.
 

June 1, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , | Leave a comment

Foods, Know the Good Guys from the Bad Guys

What Your Body Needs   Many people think nothing of eating a double cheeseburger, medium fries and a

medium cola. If you dissect this “meal,” you’ll find that on average, it contains an unbelievable 68 grams of fat (17 teaspoons), almost half of which are saturated; 15 grams of trans fatty acids; 150 mg of cholesterol; 1,200 mg of salt; and 20 teaspoons of sugar (all from the cola)! If you factor in that the fries were probably cooked in hydrogenated cottonseed oil, one of the most heavily pesticide-laden crops in the world, and that the meat, if overcooked, could contain carcinogens, or if undercooked, could result in food poisoning from E. coli, you may agree it’s time to find a new all-American meal.

 The Bad Guys: High levels of saturated fat are consistently linked with elevated blood cholesterol levels, heart disease, insulin resistance and several forms of cancer. Most Americans eat about 40 grams of saturated fat every day, which is twice as much as is considered healthy. Animal products are the greatest source of saturated fats in the Western diet.

For many years, trans fatty acids were considered a relatively minor player in health and disease. Although their impact on total cholesterol is not quite as profound as it is with saturated fats, the overall damage to heart health is worse. Trans fatty acids not only raise total cholesterol, but also lower LDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) and potentially increase triglycerides. Gram for gram, the adverse effect of trans fatty acids is estimated to be two to four times greater than that of saturated fatty acids. The most common sources arecrackers, cookies, granola bars, chips and other snack foods, baked goods, margarine, shortening and deep-fried fast foods.

 Cholesterol is made by animals, not plants; all animal foods contain cholesterol, while plant foods are all cholesterol-free. The next time you buy any plant-based food like peanut butter that says “no cholesterol” on the label, realize that is just a sales gimmick. There are several concerns about eating too much cholesterol because it can cause blood cholesterol levels to rise, increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attack and stroke. The recommended daily intake of cholesterol is less than 200 mg, which is a little less than the amount of cholesterol in one egg yolk.

 The Good Guys: Science has known for a very long time that vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds are healthful foods. Researchers assumed that the substances that made these foods so good for us were the vitamins, minerals and fiber. They were right, but only partly. In the past 20 years, scientists have discovered a whole new set of protective compounds packed within every whole-plant food: phytochemicals and antioxidants. Phytochemicals are natural substances that protect plants against attacks from insects. When we eat plants, these same powerful little protectors go to work on our behalf, with remarkable human health benefits.

  Many phytochemicals are strong antioxidants, neutralizing destructive free radicals. Some phytochemicals provide anticancer support, helping the body rid itself of potent carcinogens. Others protect against cardiovascular disease by helping to reduce the formation of cholesterol, lower blood pressure, decrease blood cholesterol levels, reduce blood clot formation, open blood vessels and decrease damage to blood vessel walls. The list of significant beneficial activities of phytochemicals includes anti-inflammatory, anti-yeast, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and immune-enhancing benefits. Which foods are the most efficient phytochemical factories? Vegetables and fruits stand out as being particularly important, although legumes (beans), grains, nuts and seeds are also excellent sources. Choosing a wide variety of colorful, whole-plant foods is the key to a phytochemical-rich diet.

December 6, 2011 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment