Sitting Can Cut Years From Your Life
Being active most days of the week is key to optimal heart health, and can help you keep your weight within a healthy range. A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting too much can actually raise your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and early death. Researchers from the Toronto Rehab center looked at research studies that focused on the effects of being inactive. The review found that the negative effects of sitting are bigger for people who are inactive most of the day, compared to those that are active most days of the week. However, if you are active for 30 minutes a day and still sit for the rest of the day, your health can be impacted negatively. By increasing the time you are active each day, and sitting for less time, you can lower your risk for chronic disease while adding quality years to your life. Researchers suggest starting small and trying to stand for a few minutes at a time each hour while at work. Every minute of physical activity is one step towards a healthier life.
Healthy Eating Patterns Reduce Diabetes Risk In Women
A heart healthy eating plan usually consists of fewer sugary drinks, processed meats, red meats, and fatty foods than the Standard American Diet. Since heart disease is a risk factor for diabetes, this type of plan can lower your risk for both conditions at the same time. In the journal Diabetes Care, a Harvard study of white, black, Hispanic, and Asian women found that those with a healthy eating plan had a lower diabetes risk over a 28-year period.
Healthy eating plans seemed to lower diabetes risk by over half in the group of Hispanic women, nearly half in the group of white women, over four-tenths in the group of Asian women, and nearly one-third in the group of black women. Overall, a healthy meal plan lowered the risk of diabetes in minority women by over one-third, compared to those who had less healthy eating habits.
The researchers suggest that healthy eating can provide protection for all women, and is key to lowering diabetes risk in non-white women.
Some Exercise Is Better Than None
According to national health guidelines, adults should get 30 minutes of exercise a day, at least 5 days a week. However, to some adults that may have never exercised before, such lofty exercise goals can seem out of reach. When people are unable to meet these goals, they often give up on physical activity altogether.
Recent findings published in the journal BMJ from researchers at Wake Forest University and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have found that any amount of movement is better than none. The researchers found that people who exercised from 1 to 74 minutes a week lowered their death risk by nearly one-fifth. If you are inactive now, start off by standing just a few minutes every hour. You can try walking around during TV commercial breaks or when talking on the phone. It may be easier to break up exercise into small, 10-minute sessions throughout the day. Every little bit counts, and can help you gain better health in the long term.
Walking With A Buddy May Improve Health
Getting daily physical activity is vital to heart health. But for some, exercise can be difficult to stick to. A recent study review in The British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that walking with a group can increase the amount of time you exercise and, in turn, improve overall health. Of the 2,000 women studied, those who joined a walking group decreased resting heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and body fat. Nearly three-fourths of the women were able to stick with the with the walking group program since such a group provided a safe and effective way for the women to work out. In addition, the walking group setting was found to improve the women’s attitude towards exercise.
So if you find that exercise seems like a chore, look for a walking group exercise group, dance class, or fun sports team to help keep you motivated to move. Once you get excited about exercise again, you will be on your way to better health.
A Little Bit Of Salt May Improve Heart Health
High salt intake has been linked to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. However, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine has found that a little salt each day may actually improve heart health. The American Heart Association guidelines suggest that most adults should take in no more than 1500 milligrams of salt a day.
With so many processed, high-salt foods on the market today, many Americans have trouble meeting these guidelines. Researchers suggest that eating more whole foods, such as fresh fruits and veggies, and less processed foods, should be the biggest change you make to your meal plan. A little salt on top of fresh, whole foods does not make a big difference in heart health.
So fill your plate with fresh fruits and veggies, choose unprocessed foods when shopping at the grocery store and eating out, and sprinkle a little salt on your food so you can improve your heart health for life.