Heart Healthy Diet

Heart Healthy Diet

Heart Healthy Diet

By Mackenzie Distad, EP-C, BS 

ACSM  Certified Exercise Physiologist/Exercise Specialist

Living a healthy lifestyle is the best way you can prevent or fight cardiovascular disease. Important components of a healthy lifestyle include regular exercise and physical activity, as well as eating a heart healthy diet. What you eat can increase or decrease your risk of heart disease. But which foods are good and how do you get started? It can be tough to change all of your eating habits at once so here are a few ideas to move you towards a more heart healthy diet.

Look at portion sizes

The amount of food you eat is just as important as the types of food you are eating. Have you seen the huge portion sizes served in restaurants!?! Meal portions are growing the in US, so it is important to examine how much you are consuming at mealtime. Try using a smaller dinner plate or bowl at home. If you eat out at a restaurant, box a portion of your meal up right away to take home. Try to practice mindful eating: Do not eat until you feel stuffed or very full; try to eat until you are satisfied and save the rest for later. It is also important to read food labels at the grocery store. Keep an eye on the portion sizes described on the nutrition facts panels.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetable are great sources of vitamins and minerals, are low in calories and high in dietary fiber. Eating more healthy fruits and vegetables can help to prevent cardiovascular disease and may help you avoid eating high-fat foods. Introducing or increasing vegetables and fruits in your daily diet can be easy: Keep them washed and cut in the fridge so they are easy to grab as a quick snack throughout the day. You can also mix them into meals, like in a stir fry, or use them as a side.

Whole grains

Try to make your grains whole grains. Whole grains are full of fiber and other nutrients that help to control blood pressure. Things to look for include whole-wheat flour, whole-grain bread, brown rice, whole-grain pasta and oatmeal. It is important to read the food labels with some of these foods. For example; when purchasing bread, make sure the first ingredient is whole grain or whole wheat flour – not enriched or refined flours. Starting to introduce these whole grains to your diet will help you to be living more heart healthy.

Limit unhealthy fats

Try to cut down on the amount of saturated and trans fats in order to lower your levels of bad cholesterol. High levels of bad cholesterol in your blood can lead to a buildup of plaques in the arteries – increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke. When you do use fats in cooking, etc., choose monounsaturated fats like olive oil or canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats are also good choices for a heart healthy diet. These can be found in certain fish, avocados, nuts and seeds. It is important to remember moderation with all fats though. All types are still high in calories.

ExercisAbilities has an in-house Dietician who can provide one-on-one Nutrition Counseling.

Choose low-fat protein sources

Try to stick to consuming lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs. There is also protein in foods like legumes (beans, peas and lentils), soybeans and tofu that are low in fat. These are plant proteins that are lower in fat and bad cholesterol than animal proteins.

Reduce sodium consumption

Eating a lot of sodium can have a large impact on your blood pressure – a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults have no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day (about a teaspoon). The easiest way to start reducing the amount of sodium you consume is to look at the food labels and reduce the amount of restaurant food you eat. The largest contributors to sodium in our diets is not what we add at the table, but is the sodium in restaurant and processed/pre-packaged foods.

Allow yourself an occasional treat

Allow yourself a treat every once in a while! A candy bar or a few potato chips won’t ruin your heart healthy eating efforts. Enjoy your special occasion dinners with family or friends – but don’t let it turn into a regular occurrence. If you start to incorporate these changes in your eating habits, you will find that eating a heart healthy diet is reasonable and can still be enjoyable.

LEARN TO BE FIT – Exercise and Diet Program

ExercisAbilities knows healthy eating is quite the change for some. That’s why we continue to offer our Learn To Be Fit program.  This year long program combines counsel on proper diet, peer support, accountability and exercise. It’s a great way to make a healthy lifestyle change. Check out the next Learn to Be Fit class on our webpage and get registered today!

For more information on heart health and heart healthy eating, check out the American Heart Association’s website www.heart.org or www.mayoclinic.org.

Symptoms of Heart Failure

Symptoms of Heart Failure

By Mackenzie Distad, EP-C, BS 

ACSM  Certified Exercise Physiologist/Exercise Specialist

Heart Health Month at ExercisAbilities

We’re right in the middle of Heart Month 2018 at ExercisAbilities and still striving to raise awareness on all things heart health related. Earlier this month, I wrote about the signs of a heart attack. Heart attack and heart failure are both heart related but two different things. Today, I want to talk to you about heart failure and the signs you may see as the heart muscle weakens.

Heart Failure is the term used to describe a heart that can no longer keep up with the needs of the body. The heart muscle is weakened and is not pumping out as much blood (or oxygen) as the rest of the body needs to function.

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath (even at rest)
  • nausea or loss of appetite
  • chronic fatigue
  • lightheadedness
  • confusion
  • chronic coughing/wheezing
  • high heart rate
  • build-up of fluid in body tissues (edema)

 

If you are noticing any particular symptoms of heart failure, take action and contact a healthcare professional. Certain tests and scans can be used to determine if you have heart failure and what stage it might be in.

Though heart failure is a chronic condition, the symptoms can be managed and you can live a full and enjoyable life with it. Along with medications, lifestyle changes such as eating a heart-healthy/low-sodium diet and getting regular exercise, can help to control symptoms and progression of heart failure.

For more information on heart failure, visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org where you will find additional, valuable resources such as the Self-check Heart Failure Management Guide.

 


You can help with our 2018 Goals: 200 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook followers!

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Safe Snow Shoveling

Safe Snow Shoveling

Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling in the Winter

By Mackenzie Distad
Exercise Specialist / Exercise Physiologist
Exercisabilities, INC.

The cold weather we experience in Minnesota, along with the physical exertion of shoveling snow, can put strain on the heart. Snow shoveling is a known trigger for heart attacks, and can be more strenuous than exercising “full throttle” on a treadmill. If you need to clear away the snow this winter, here are some tips for keeping your heart safe!

  • Consult a doctor ahead of time. Before you start shoveling, talk with your doctor if you have a medical condition, do not exercise regularly or are middle-aged or older.
  • Don’t eat a big meal before or soon after shoveling. Eating a large meal can put an extra load on your heart.
  • Do not drink alcohol before or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol can increase a person’s sensation of warmth and may cause you to underestimate the extra strain your body is under in the cold.
  • Give yourself a break. Take frequent breaks to avoid overstressing your heart. Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.
  • Use a small shovel or a snow thrower. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts. When possible, simply push the snow.
  • Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body. Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out. Carry your cellphone in your pocket and call 911 immediately if you experience any signs of a heart attack.
  • Check the weather. Besides cold temperatures, high winds, snow and rain also can steal body heat. Wind is especially dangerous, because it removes the layer of heated air from around your body. Similarly, dampness causes the body to lose heat faster than it would at the same temperature in drier conditions. If the weather conditions are becoming dangerous, try to stay inside – shoveling might need to wait.
  • Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, dress in layers of warm clothing, which traps air between layers forming a protective insulation. Wear a hat because much of the body’s heat can be lost through the head.
  • Cover your face. Breathing in cold air can cause constriction of the airways in the lungs and also constriction of the blood vessels – increasing blood pressure. Use a mask or scarf to cover your mouth and nose if you are out in the cold to warm the air you inhale.
  • Find someone to help or do it for you. If you are worried about the physical exertion or your heart’s safety, find someone to help. A family member, friend or maybe a teenage neighbor could remove the snow safely for a few bucks!
References

Patrick J. Skerrett. (2016, June 20). Protect your heart when shoveling snow – Harvard Health Blog [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/protect-your-heart-when-shoveling-snow-201101151153

Snow shoveling heart risks, tips to stay safe – News on Heart.org [Web log post]. (2016, January 22). Retrieved from https://news.heart.org/snow-shoveling-heart-risks-tips-to-stay-safe/

 


You can help with our 2018 Goals: 200 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook followers!

Follow us on  Twitter @Exercisabilitie and  Facebook @Exercisabilities

Forever Strong – Post Rehabilitation Program

Forever Strong – Post Rehabilitation Program

Forever Strong

Post-Rehabilitation Exercise Therapy

 

So you’ve been to rehab. “Been there, done that” as they say. What’s next? Nothing? It can’t be nothing. Your rehab needs aren’t gone. You know you haven’t maximized your recovery ability.  There must be more.

Relax, there is.

Physical Therapy at ExercisAbilities

Continuum Health Care

The Forever Strong Program at ExercisAbilities is a one-of-a-kind program in Rochester MN, created to provide post-rehabilitation fitness and recreational services when the need for full rehabilitation services are over or no longer available to you. It is a continuum rehabilitation healthcare program.

Post-Rehabilitation

Your rehabilitation needs may never end, however, “skilled” insurance paid therapy by an occupational, physical, or speech therapist may end.   It may end because your insurance coverage for rehabilitation ends. It may end because the therapist determines your rehabilitation has plateaued and believes you may not see significant improvement going forward. At ExercisAbilities we know that your long-term health and wellness goals likely require ongoing treatment with assist by skilled practitioners, which we call Post-Rehabilitation.

Post-Rehabilitation may be the next step for you. Post-Rehabilitation allows you to continue with a healthcare program specifically designed for you, your needs, your medical condition and your fitness level. This may mean more rehabilitation or a transition to exercise therapy, recreational therapy and exercise classes. The post-rehabilitation program we design will be customized for you.

Forever Strong Post-Rehabilitation Program

At ExercisAbilities, the Forever Strong Program is our unique approach to your long-term wellness. This program provides a lifelong approach to your wellness in relationship to your medical diagnosis or physical limitation. After an initial assessment of your ability level, our staff will determine the next steps in a program specially designed for you. Your program will be modified to accommodate your physical and cognitive abilities and will focus on providing safe and effective post-rehabilitation recovery interventions. We have specially trained exercise specialists and therapeutic recreation staff to serve you and the program is provided in consultation with onsite licensed physical and occupational therapists.

Your individualized program may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise therapy (specialized medical fitness), diagnosis specific exercises classes and more. Our services range from group therapy classes, such as our Stroke Recovery classes, to specific and individualized exercise therapy.

 

Who needs Forever Strong?

The Forever Strong Post-Rehabilitation Program will be advantageous for a large variety of situations and diagnosis. Physical Therapy at ExercisabilitiesIf you have graduated out of a recovery or rehabilitation program but know you need on-going treatment to reach your maximum potential, then this program is for you. If your insurance coverage is maxed out, no longer paying for your rehabilitation, this program is for you. If you want to be Forever Strong, despite your physical limitations, this program is for you. If you want to find the ability in your disability, this program is for you. Wheelchair users, Parkinson Disease, Stroke Recovery, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy clients and more will benefit from this program.

How Do I Get Started with Post-Rehabilitation?

Getting started is easy. Every new client at ExercisAbilities receives a free, individual health fitness assessment. New clients meet with an Exercise Specialist or Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Our staff will assess your ability level and review your specific history to help them understand your needs and goals. Together, you will plan your Road Map to Health which will include recommended classes and services to meet your individual needs. Staff will also give you a free orientation of our facility, so you can see the available equipment and exercise rooms.

To get started, stop by our front desk to schedule your New Client Assessment or call 507-259-7570.  We do not require a medical provider referral.

How Much Does Post Rehabilitation cost?

The Forever Strong Post-Rehabilitation Program is customized per client, allowing us to design individualized post-rehabilitation programs for each client. Your custom program may include a variety of our services and thus there isn’t a set cost for the program.

As part of your New Client Assessment, you will meet with our business office staff to explore your payment options. This may include self-payment, waiver assistance with state funding programs, a sliding-scale payment or subsidized payments made possible by community donations to ExercisAbilities as we are a non-profit organization.

Because this is a post-rehabilitation program, most often used after prescribed rehabilitation or insurance payments have ended, it is unusual for formal medical insurance programs to cover the costs but check with your insurance company.

Forever Strong – A Lifetime of Health and Fitness

Being well is not a luxury, it is a need to which each person should have access. Massive amounts of research now point to activity and fitness as the primary factor in living a longer, healthier life. Don’t let your rehabilitation journey stop and risk going backward in your progress.

Call 507-259-7570 or stop by our office at 2530 N. Broadway to get started.

Keep gaining strength by joining our Forever Strong Post Rehabilitation Program today!


You can help with our 2018 Goals: 200 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook followers!

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A Personal Trainer’s Perspective on Your New Year Resolutions

A Personal Trainer’s Perspective on Your New Year Resolutions

The Solution to Your Resolutions

Zach Curry, CPT
Certified Personal Trainer/Exercise Specialist

January is a tough month for most of us in the Midwest. We are coming off the highs of the holidays, work is ramped up with projects for the new year, kids are back in school, and in addition to all that, we still need to find time for selfcare. For most of us, that comes in the form of a New Year’s resolution. Thankfully the month of January is over. By this time, you probably have your schedule at work and home back on track, there is only one more month of winter left, and you are darn glad that January is over. I am sure most of your life transitioned very well into February except for one thing, your New Year’s resolution.

There is something so compelling about setting a New Year’s resolution. The whole idea of a new start, a new year, a new “you” are extremely comforting to us. It’s a time where we get a little relief from the things we want to fix about ourselves because we know once that new year starts it is all going to change. And then February hits. There are bills to pay, kids to feed, work to be done and you are not seeing results as fast as you wanted, and you just don’t see how you have time or energy to complete your New Year’s resolution. According to Forbes.com only 8 % of people accomplish their resolutions.

The problem is not that it is too hard or that you don’t have enough time. Instead it’s because you haven’t taken the proper steps when setting your goal.

Here are a few tips to staying on track all year.

Reassess

Now that a month has passed take an honest look at the goal you have set.

Is it becoming increasingly difficult to find time for it?

Do you feel like it is draining you of your energy?

If you are feeling this way it is a good time to look at your goal and reassess. You don’t have to completely change it, but maybe set up some smaller sub goals that you can reach first. For instance, if your goal is to cut down on sugar, instead of going cold turkey try to track how much added sugar you consume in a day. Then try to shoot for a slightly smaller number from week to week. Doing this will keep your goals from being overwhelming and will give you a sense of accomplishment as you move through each sub goal.

It’s a new day, not a new year

Setting a goal for all of 2018 is a lot to ask of someone, let alone yourself. Instead try to make your main goal a part of each day by setting those sub goals. If you don’t get to it, no worries. It is ok to be frustrated. What is most important is how you react to your frustration. An example would be If your goal is to eat healthier meals and you break and have a cheeseburger. Getting upset at yourself and then giving up all together and going back to how you have eaten in the past is a poor reaction. What you should do is take a breath, recognizing that you are frustrated and remind yourself that it is only a moment of frustration, it will pass.

Every morning brings the opportunity of a new day. Write down your small goal for the day and get to it.

They are your accomplishments

My final piece of advice is to remember that your accomplishments are for you. Your goals should be something you truly want to change, it must come from within. If you goal is to save money for your family be sure you remind yourself it is because you love them, and you want what is best for them because that in turn brings you happiness. Do your best to compare your accomplishments to your accomplishments only. It is very easy to fall down the rabbit whole of negative thinking when we compare ourselves to other people who we assume are ahead of us. It is important to remember they put their pants on one leg at a time just like you do. It is ok to be inspired by others but remember this is your journey, not theirs.

Try these steps the next time you feel like quitting on your goal. Accomplishing goals is about having balance. Being gritty, but also remembering to breathe and forgive yourself when you fall short. It is about doing something for “you” not for your boss, significant other, or your kids. Motivation is often at its greatest when it comes from within.

Good luck on your goals for 2018, keep your head up and get after it!



You can help with our 2018 Goals: 200 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook followers!

Follow us on  Twitter @Exercisabilitie and  Facebook @Exercisabilities