Love Your Heart

Senior African American Couple Walking Through Fall WoodlandThere’s no sugar-coating it (even around Valentine’s Day).

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world, and the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing over 366,800 Americans a year (about one every 43 seconds). It’s the number one killer of women in the U.S., taking more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Heart issues in women can be more subtle. That’s dangerous, because women often misread the trouble signs while having an actual heart attack for things like acid reflux or flu. In fact, 64 percent of women who die from coronary heart disease (a narrowing of the arteries or blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart) had no previous symptoms. And heart disease is also the number one killer of men. (It doesn’t discriminate.)

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Keeping Diet and Exercise on Track

Caucasian family playing basketball together. Happy family spending free time together.

What causes a “break” in good food habits? Why get tempted by candy or chips, when you could reach for grapes, or whole-grain crackers? Why is it that you can work out for a few weeks, then end up in front of the TV for days later? These questions can haunt even the most dedicated of those trying to follow a healthy lifestyle. (No one’s perfect!)

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Measuring the Impact of Childhood Obesity

Two young girls bullying other young girl outdoors

A CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) sampling of five to 17 year-olds showed that almost 60 percent of children that were overweight had at least one risk factor for heart disease, and 25 percent had two or more risk factors.

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She Swims Safely at the Seashore (or Pool): Avoid Waterborne Diseases

Family relaxing on inflatable rafts in a swimming pool

Whether to stay in shape, relax, or just cool off, swimming is one of the best exercises around, because you work all muscle groups. Great for arthritis sufferers, you’re also buoyed by the water, which means less muscle and joint strain.

Learning how to swim through a trained and certified professional in swimming and water safety (at your own level and pace) can help replace any fear of the water with a healthy respect and love for it. The place to start is with a visit to www.redcross.org for a state-by-state list of Learn-to-Swim Providers, as well as your local beach, community center, or parks and recreation department. You’ll find classes for everyone from six months old up to adult.

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Keep Moving for a Healthy Heart

Face it: You just feel better when you eat right, and exercise more. From lean chicken and fish, to healthy fruits, and veggies; from low-fat or skim dairy (or vitamin-fortified soy milk, or yogurt), to whole grains – plus water for optimal hydration – good food is like fuel for your body. What you eat and how much you move matters when it comes to weight or developing a chronic condition like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure. Making wise choices now can have a huge impact on both longevity and quality of life as you age.

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Flexibility: Move It or Lose It!

If you’ve ever gotten off track with exercise and struggled with getting back to your usual routine, you know this drill of then and now: You committed to keeping fit, with a regimen that you’ve enjoyed, and reaped its benefits. But over time, life has gotten in the way with a lack of time and energy (plus some added weight), along with a beckoning couch after a long day at work, lengthy commute, or driving the kids to activities. You know you feel and look better when you exercise, but having the energy to start it up again is, well, another story.

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