Weight Training for Heart Health

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Regular cardiovascular exercise is a well-known component of heart health, but a recent study shows that lifting weights may also reduce heart attack and stroke risk.

The American Heart Association has long held that to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, one needs to exercise for an average of 40 minutes at a ‘moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic activity’ 3-4 days each week. (Read more about cardiovascular exercise and lowering cholesterol and improving heart health in, How Much Exercise for Boosting Heart Health.)

But weight lifting to help cardio health is a new idea. Gretchen Reynolds explains in her New York Times article,

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How Much Exercise For Boosting Heart Health?

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Exercise is one of the key methods for lowering cholesterol – and blood pressure, my new concern — without medications. So to reduce my blood pressure and to continue to keep my cholesterol in check without any meds, I’ve been wondering just how much, how hard, and how often I need to exercise.

In researching, I found this nifty chart from the American Heart Association. It’s a little busy, but the key is the bottom-most graphic, which is for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure (how handy that they are together goal-wise!)

Apparently, to lower cholesterol and blood pressure,

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Non-Sweetened Metamucil with Grapefruit and Orange Juice

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With my cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure higher last month, I needed to try to salvage things before my doctor(s) advise statins and/or blood pressure medication. Step one: a lo-co lifestyle exercise and diet review (and correction):

  • Exercise. I’d let my exercise habit lapse in the past six months, so have recently re-started exercising daily. Of course today I pulled my hamstring. Sigh. But I am determined to at least walk daily, because ‘Study Proves Exercise Staves Off Bad Cholesterol.’
  • Diet – General. While I don’t eat a lot of red meat, I do eat a lot of carbs (pasta and bread) and sugar (M&Ms and wine).

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Walking Counts as Exercise… REALLY!

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On NPR this morning, I heard Renee Montagne utter this intriguing line, “About half of all Americans say they exercise regularly.” I literally laughed out loud as exercise is a big topic of conversation this week in my house, with my parents visiting from Florida. My dad had a second heart surgery last year and my mom has high cholesterol, and they really would benefit from regular exercise. I know this. They know this.  And yet…they are not among the apparently half of Americans exercising regularly.

Maybe peer pressure (as opposed to kid pressure) would help? So I listened keenly.

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New Year’s Exercise Resolutions and Heart Health

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If you’re like most Americans, getting more exercise is on your list of New Year’s resolutions.

And for good reason: exercise is one of the key methods for lowering cholesterol – and blood pressure, my new concern — without medications.  Oh, and that dropping weight side-benefit (ha ha) is kind of fantastic, too.

So to reduce my blood pressure and to continue to keep my cholesterol in check without any meds, I’ve been wondering just how much, how hard, and how often I need to exercise.

In researching, I found this nifty chart from the American Heart Association.  

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