10 ways to keep your family heart healthy

Helping your young kids adopt a healthy lifestyle may not seem as urgent as telling them to wear bike helmets or to stay near the lifeguard at the beach, but it can be life-saving. By laying this groundwork you’re arming them for a lifetime of reduced risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in adults.

As a personal trainer, Mary Bielawski is well versed in what’s needed for a healthy lifestyle — especially the right exercise and good nutrition. She shares this information with her clients at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness and uses it to create a way of life for her children, 6-year-old Ethan and 3-year-old Evelyn.

Bielawski suggests these strategies for helping your family stay heart healthy:

No couch potatoes: 5 tips for keeping your family on the move

  1. Children 6 and older need at least an hour a day of physical activity, according to Health & Human Services guidelines. School kids often need some down time, too. Let them recharge for their active time by playing with toys, reading a book or just relaxing. Limit time spent online, watching TV or playing video games.
  2. If your young child regularly pushes back about playing outside, give them choices. For example, offer to take them for a walk or to the park, or they can play in the yard. “Often, when my son gets back from the activity he chose he says, ‘That was fun Mom, I’m glad I went,’” says Bielawski.
  3. Start an enjoyable, active family tradition. Bielawski hopes to start weekly hikes in the local nature preserve for her whole family. “My kids will have fun checking out the bugs and flowers,” she says. Other parents and kids might try regular bike rides, swims or bowling.
  4. Build activity into your daily routines. Do a few squats or other exercises while you stir the soup or wait for the laundry to dry. Park at the farthest end of the parking lot. Take the stairs or put on some music and just dance.
  5. Do something good for your body while doing good for others. If your kids are old enough, volunteer as a family for something physical, such as clearing brush for a conservation project or packing boxes for disaster relief.

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10 Ways to Start Losing Weight, No Matter How Unmotivated You Are

Christa Sgobba wrote in the Silver Sneakers blog that shedding pounds does not require a complete diet-and-exercise overhaul. You know you want to lose weight, and you have a pretty good idea of what you should do to make it happen. You just need to get started. And unfortunately, that’s often the hardest part.

When motivation is lacking, remember this: Shedding pounds does not require a complete diet-and-exercise overhaul. In fact, starting small is often the best way to meet—and maintain—your weight loss goals, says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., founder of CORE in Boston. The good habits you adopt can snowball, leading to bigger changes down the line too, he says.

Here are ten ways to start losing weight with minimal effort.

1. Eat Foods That Hydrate You

It may sound counterintuitive, but eating more food can be a key to weight loss—as long as we’re talking about foods with a high water content, says Christine Rosenbloom, Ph.D., R.D., author of Food and Fitness After 50.

Eating water-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, or broth-based soups can fill you up, leaving you less likely to overeat on more calorie-dense foods, she says.

In fact, a study published in the journal Appetite found that when people ate a broth-based vegetable soup 15 minutes before a pasta lunch, they consumed 20 percent fewer calories overall, compared to when they just ate their main meal. The researchers believe the soup slows the rate at which food moves through your digestive tract, which can increase feelings of satiety.

There’s a mental benefit too: Seeing more food in front of you can make you feel less deprived, Rosenbloom says. And that can cut your urge to end your meal with a calorie-rich dessert.

Try starting your meal with a broth-based soup, even if you’re eating at home. Not a soup fan? Look for other ways to include more water-rich foods to your plate. “Add two or three leaves of lettuce or more tomato on your sandwich,” Rosenbloom says.

2. Wake Up to Protein

Eating a protein-rich meal in the morning can set you up for a whole day of healthy eating, Rosenbloom says. That’s because, like hydrating foods, protein boosts satiety. And if you’re feeling satisfied, you’re less likely to graze all morning.

“Aim for 30 grams of protein at breakfast,” she says, adding that most people get less than 15 grams.

Adding a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie is an easy way to pack it in: A single scoop contains roughly 20 to 30 grams, depending on the type you choose. If you prefer solid foods, “think eggs and a whole-grain cereal with filtered milk, like Fairlife, which contains more protein than the regular kind,” Rosenbloom says.

Want more ideas? Check out these seven protein-packed breakfasts that trim your waistline.

3. Give the Sweatpants a Break

One of the perks of retirement is not having to get dressed up every day. But living in yoga pants or sweats might actually be doing your belly a disservice since you’re missing out on the instant feedback of a too-tight waistband, Rosenbloom says.

“It’s a little bit of self-monitoring,” she says. Noticing your go-to pants suddenly feel tight can lead you to make changes to your food or exercise routine—which you may miss if you’re wearing elastic pants that are more forgiving. Your weight may change more significantly before you realize something’s up.

You don’t need to swear off sweatpants for good. Even trying on the same pair of dress pants every Sunday can be enough monitoring, she says. Read more

Hot Yoga can be very good, but also risky

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Tips on getting back into exercise routine

Nathan Lurz, exercise physiologist at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital shared that when seemingly endless holiday parties and heavy winter meals mix with the cold of the season, it’s easy to let your weekly gym appointments slide.

Unfortunately, research shows individuals who stop exercising will lose their strength gains within two or three weeks and cardio gains within 12 days, says Ed Bendoraitis, exercise physiologist at the Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill.

Those who have been exercising longer will hold on to their prior levels a little further past those marks, but losing some of your progress shouldn’t dissuade you from hopping back on your bike, favorite weight machine or into your running shoes, says Bendoraitis.

As frustrating as it may be to underperform your previous paces or weights, people need to get back into shape by taking it slow, he says.

“Start with something that is comfortable for you, like walking, biking or yoga. Anything that gets you moving,” he says. “Do not try to run a marathon your first day back.”

Bendoraitis recommends consciously scheduling (or rescheduling) your exercise days and times each week so you know exactly when you are going to hit the gym and can hold yourself accountable. Read more

10 best exercises for senior adults

 John DePasquale wrote in Edward-Elmhurst’s  Healthy Driven Life that several things happen as we age that can affect our fitness level and everyday functioning. For example, decreasing hormones cause our muscles to atrophy, our bones to weaken and we become better “insulated” with fat.You don’t have to give in to aging without a fight! A proper exercise plan can not only slow these processes but potentially reverse them.

So what’s the secret? Exercise, of course! One of the most important things we can do as we get older is stick with a proper fitness program, especially one that emphasizes weight training.

Exercising with machines or free weights can increase natural levels of muscle-building hormones, decrease the rate at which we accumulate fat, and increase our overall lean body or muscle mass. As we build muscle and get stronger, our bodies burn more calories to stay alive every day. This is because muscle mass requires more calories, even at rest.

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State fitness assessments results now available

Pump Up P.E. shared that the Illinois health-related physical fitness assessment data is now available by school, district, and county under Quick Links at the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) Enhanced P.E. web page.

ISBE is in the process of sharing these results with schools, along with a letter

providing context and guidance on how they can use fitness testing data to help their students, physical education (P.E.) teachers, school and community maximize the benefits of physical fitness.
What are the SY16-17 statewide physical fitness assessment results?
With results from 69% (2,475) of the 3,572 Illinois schools required to report:
  • 63% of 5th, 7th, and 10th graders across the state met the Healthy Fitness Zone for aerobic capacity, using either the PACER or Mile Run tests
  • 65% of 5th, 7th, and 10th graders across the state met the Healthy Fitness Zone for muscular strength, using the Push-up test
  • 79% of the 5th, 7th, and 10th graders across the state met the Healthy Fitness Zone for muscular endurance, using the Curl-up test
  • 72% of the 5th, 7th, and 10th graders across the state met the Healthy Fitness Zone for flexibility, using either the Back-saver Sit and Reach or Trunk Lift test

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Be careful out there!

Edeards-Elmhursh Health asked, “When you picture dangerous winter activities, do you think of skiing or maybe snowboarding?” You may be surprised that, on average, only 38 Americans are killed each year in skiing and snowboarding accidents combined, compared to 100 deaths in the U.S. related to shoveling snow.

Yes, there are probably a lot more shovelers than skiers, but consider this other statistic for just one metro area: During the winter of 2014-15, CBS News reported that 18 people died in incidents related to shoveling snow in the Chicago area, and that was only through Feb. 15. Ages of the victims ranged from the 40s to 75.

How can shoveling be so dangerous? Think of a primarily sedentary 50-year-old man gulping down his coffee so he can go out on a cold morning to move hundreds of pounds of snow before he has to leave for work. He’s putting a lot of strain on his upper body in particular, in an aerobic activity that’s more strenuous than many sports. And he’s doing this while inhaling cold air.

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How to keep your New Year’s resolutions

resolutionsGinny Grimsley shared in a Daily Herald article that if you’re one of the millions of Americans who will make a promise to improve yourself this New Year, there’s bad news: You’re 92 percent likely to fail in sticking to your resolutions, says a recent study from the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology.

About 45 percent of Americans make resolutions. Ranking at the top is losing weight, and staying fit and healthy ranks No. 5.

“Of course, those statistics represent the average – you don’t have to be average,” says Dr. Virender Sodhi, founder of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic. “There are plenty of things individuals can do to improve their odds of success if they resolve to become healthier and fitter.”

Dr. Sodhi, author of the new guide, “Ayurvedic Herbs: The Comprehensive Resource for Ayurvedic Healing Solutions,” believes we can move much closer to a world of disease-free societies by following the laws of Mother Nature. Individual commitment to health via New Year’s resolutions is one path to take us there. Dr. Sodhi offers five tips for staying true to your goals.

• Get away from the instant-gratification mentality and avoid unrealistic goals. Don’t expect to go from zero to 60 — 60 being your ideal body image — in just a few months, especially if you have little background in training. Unfortunately, most who have resolutions like losing plenty of weight and quitting smoking are used to easy snack foods and quick rewards. Health is a long-term labor of love; commit to the love and wait for results.

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Exercise doesn’t necessarily cancel out risks of drinking

Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, an internist and assistant professor of medicine at UCLA Health and  Elizabeth Ko, M.D., an internist and primary care physician at UCLA Health shared the following question they received :

I just read about a study that says exercise cancels out alcohol’s higher risk of death from cancer. Is it possible that I can walk off the cancer risk of the cocktail I have each night after dinner?

They answered: While we commend your creative thinking, your husband has guessed right. In our opinion, you can’t depend on added exercise to cancel out the increased risk of cancer that can be caused by alcohol consumption. It’s not that we think the study itself is wrong. It’s the way the results have been interpreted in some news stories — as cause and effect — that is, at best, misleading.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Researchers in England looked at a decade of medical data collected from 36,370 women and men, all 40 or older. They sorted the study subjects by how much alcohol they consumed and by how much they exercised.

Not surprisingly, they found a statistical link between “hazardous drinking” and an increased risk of death from all causes, including cancer. In this study, hazardous drinking was defined as 8 to 20 servings of alcohol per week for women, and 21 to 49 servings of alcohol for men.

Then the researchers included exercise as a variable in their calculations. They found that among people who spent at least 150 minutes per week doing moderate aerobic activity, like a brisk walk, the mortality rate due to cancer dropped. This proved to be true even among the heavier drinkers, as long as they exercised. Read more

Health Tips: Making the Time For Exercise

Jordan Klee, the brains behind a site called Beautifully Alive shared that we are a healthy lifestyle/beauty website for both men and women.who  oversees a in today’s world, it can be hard for women to make the time to stay fit. With a million other expectations and tasks to complete in a day, spending time on your own fitness may be the first to get cut from your schedule. Taking care of your body as well as your skin can help you live an all around healthier lifestyle. But, I am here to tell you that your health and fitness should be the last to get the ax out of your busy schedule. By keeping yourself healthy, you will be a better spouse, friend, mother, co-worker, pet owner and the list goes on Let’s talk about how to fit exercise into your busy schedule.

Schedule Exercise In
With important dates like dental appointments, kid’s soccer matches, get-togethers, work commitments and the list goes on, you most likely schedule it in. Why? Because it’s important and you want to commit to the event. The same should hold true for your daily workout. Schedule it in. Don’t miss it. Many women find that morning works best before unforeseen activities arise in the day. Whatever time works best, make it your time and schedule it in and don’t miss your exercise appointment.


Set A Goal
Setting a fitness goal can make working towards a healthier you, a reality. Whether it’s lifting a new record on the bench press, running a race in a certain time, losing weight and inches, or lowering your pulse, pick a goal. Write that sucker down and go for it. If losing weight is a goal, make sure to calculate inches and your weight along with taking before photos. When you start seeing results, it will make you more motivated to continue towards your goal. Losing weight is no different than anything else that takes practice. You need to set an achievable goal just like you would with learning an new piece of music or a new skill like painting.

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