Show Your Family and Friends How Much You Love Them by Taking Care of Your Heart Health
Love yourself this Valentine’s Day by taking steps to prevent a heart attack or stroke by joining the Center for Disease Control’s Million Hearts® campaign. We all have been impacted by heart disease in one way or another, as heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US and worldwide. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, now is the time to do so.
The goal of Million Hearts is to reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes by one million. I’m sure you are curious as we are to see if we reached the goal or missed the mark? While we just hit 2018, taking the time to measure the results are still months away.
However, the campaign is simple to follow! It involves eight easy steps:
1) Take aspirin, when appropriate, and as instructed by your doctor
2) Control your blood pressure (new recommendations from the American Heart Association now define high blood pressure as anything greater than 130/80, down from 140/90)
3) Manage your cholesterol
4) Stop smoking
5) Eat a healthy diet
6) Maintain a healthy weight
7) Limit alcohol use
8) Be active on most days
Today in the US, an astounding 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese (CDC 2016). Obesity puts everyone at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Benefits of engaging in physical activity and exercise include losing and maintaining weight and reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressures, diabetes, and stroke. Additionally, research suggests that people who exercise are more likely to have a lower risk of colon and breast cancers than those who don’t
Did you know exercising 120-300 minutes each week greatly reduces the risk for a hip fracture? Balance and muscle strengthening exercises along with moderate aerobic activity, like brisk walking, reduces your chances for a hip fracture (95% caused by falls). It also improves your functional ability to perform everyday activities such as climbing stairs and grocery shopping, as well as playing with your children and grandchildren.
Exercise and physical activity also helps with arthritis and to manage chronic pain and fatigue. According to a WebMd article, even one pound of weight relieves four pounds of joint stress in people with arthritis in the knee. That’s huge – that means a five pound weight loss equates to 25 pounds of pressure off the joints!
As a bonus, physical activity also has profound effects on improving stress, depression and anxiety. It helps to keep our minds sharp, enhances memory and helps us to sleep better. Michael Otto, PhD, a professor of psychology at Boston University notes, “The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong. Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise, you get a mood-enhancement effect.” (American Psychological Association, Dec 2011).
The evidence is compelling, exercise and physical activity not only enhances our physical and mental well-being, but allows us to lead a higher quality of life. If you are ready to take steps to become physically active, either for yourself, or for your loved one, but are scared to start, physical therapy can help!
Physical therapists do more than just help patients recover from pain and injury. They also teach clients conditioning techniques to help individuals gain the necessary strength, balance and endurance to get back to the gym safely. Licensed therapists are also specially trained to teach stretches and proper form to help people prevent injury and achieve maximum results. Quite often, your physician will write you a prescription for physical therapy to get started.
If you would like to learn more about how physical therapy can help you work towards your fitness goals and get back to the activities you once enjoyed, call us at 248-853-5853 to schedule a free consultation.