Heart Disease in Women

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Can you believe that at the age of 30, physical inactivity begins to play it’s largest role in a woman’s risk of developing heart disease? This is according to Australian researchers, as posted in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. (May 2014)

Physical inactivity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. In 2008 according to the World Health Organization; globally, 31% of adults age 15 and over were insufficiently active. Of those, 28% were men and 34% were women.

From the age of 31 and beyond, inactivity raises the risk of heart disease more than smoking, being overweight or having high blood pressure.

Changing diet habits and walking thirty minutes a day or for an hour three times a week, will make a drastic change in your risk. Blood flow to the heart and the ability to pump normally can be changed in as little as a  month.

Exercise is only a fraction of the equation though. Stress management and a strict, healthy diet are crucial lifestyle changes that need to be adhered to. Following up with regular visits to your doctor, staying at a healthy weight and not smoking will greatly reduce your chance of developing heart disease as well.

It is never too early or too late, to begin a healthy lifestyle change. Find a support group, join a walking club or just ask your medical professional for advice and help. Some insurance companies will offer a discount on proactive health services. Search social media or join a discussion forum. My Fitness Pal is just one of the apps that has many group discussions, recipes, food logging tips and support opportunities.

Whatever method you choose to better yourself, just stick with it. You will develop a sense of pride and accomplishment, and just may be a role model for someone else.

In fitness, Bob

Breakfast Matters

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IMG_20140710_083331_603 (1)                                    Do you ever skip breakfast or grab something from a fast food place, only to be left unsatisfied or feeling ready for a nap within a few hours? You have heard it before and probably more than you wanted to. Breakfast matters! The fact is that your body needs fuel to recover from the nights rest you had and to prepare you to start your day. A good plan is to have some form of breakfast within a minimum of two hours after waking and preferably within the first thirty minutes.

You don’t want your body to start going into a starvation mode and eating muscle. When you start skipping meals, your brain tells your body to store food as fat as part of a self preservation strategy. Breakfast need not be elaborate, a certain percentage of your daily intake, (depending on your activity level or timing for a workout), or standard breakfast menu fare. Leftovers are fine as long as you have a healthy blend of macro nutrients. Just a hard boiled egg, banana or handful of trail mix first thing will give you an edge before you finish your breakfast.

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I recently discovered refrigerator oatmeal, or summer porridge as it is called. I stumbled upon it through theyummylife.com and am glad I did. The fact that oatmeal helps keep cholesterol levels in check and keeps you feeling fuller longer due to a high satiety level are bonuses.

Using a one pint canning jar with a plastic screw on lid or similar container makes this portable as well. These can be packed to work for breakfast, midday snack or a lunch alternative. The variations are limited only to your taste.

The use of steel cut oatmeal instead of rolled oats is a texture preference for me.  I add chia seed to these recipes since discovering that they are an excellent source of fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seed. Another healthy addition is PB2. This is powdered peanut butter without all the extra fats and sugar. I also sprinkle in ground cinnamon to help regulate blood sugar. (Grapefruit and sweet potato are good breakfast choices for low sugar spikes as well)

The first recipe I tried uses 3/4 c almond milk, 1/4 c steel cut oats (quick cook), 2 Tbs chia seed, 2 Tbs PB2, 1/2 banana (quartered), 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1 Tbs agave (or sweetener of your choice). Simply pour the milk into your jar, add the banana, oats, seeds, sweetener and shake. Put the lid on and refrigerate overnight. You can stir the fruit in after refrigeration if you prefer or even add more.

The other variation I have tried uses Qi’a seed, (chia, buckwheat, hemp), oatmeal, walnuts, pure maple syrup, almond milk and cinnamon. This one came out moister than I liked, but I think it was due to the lesser amount of chia seed. Chia expands to 16x it’s size. Next time I will cut the almond milk back 1/4 c.

For this recipe I mixed 3/4 c almond milk, 1/4 c steel cut oats, 2 Tbs chopped walnuts, 2 Tbs Qi’a seed mix, 2 Tbs pure maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon in the pint jar, shook and set in the fridge overnight. The flavor of this one was outstanding as a cold cereal. I like banana, however this one edged it out.

Try adding in some yogurt, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, sunflower seeds or a couple tablespoons of your favorite protein powder to switch it up. The key point is to start your day off fueled up. Pair this up with just five minutes of exercise and see what a difference it makes in your day. You will think clearer and feel less stressed.

In fitness, Bob