Find the Motivation and Support You Need to Be Healthier

Losing weight, working out regularly, and eating right are lifestyle changes you may wish to make for yourself. They can help you to have a happier and healthier life overall. As you get older, being sedentary and overweight can increase the risk of serious health problems. Not eating a balanced diet can result in feeling sluggish and your body storing fat.

It is never too late to have a new mindset and to get things moving in the right direction. Don’t think of it as a diet, think of it as small but significant changes for the rest of your life. Joining a quality health club can help you to feel motivated and help you to find the support you need. In such a setting, you will find others who share your desire to have a great body and health.

Where to Join

Convenience should be high on our list of factors as you look around for a health club to join. Time is a common reason why people can’ stick with the plan, and you don’t want anything to get in the way. Eliminate that possible roadblock from the start! Find a great place that is conveniently located, has hours that fit your schedule, and other perks to keep you going.

You know better than anyone what will get you in the door day after day. Is it the atmosphere? The selection of equipment? Maybe it is the early morning aerobics class they offer you can go to before work or the later in the evening yoga class to help you unwind? The goal is to find a health club to match your wants and needs. You need to be comfortable there!

Socialize

You aren’t going to show up just to meet people or to stand around visiting, but you do want to socialize. Being able to feel a part of a group setting at the health club is going to be important. You need to avoid places that seem isolated and intimidating or you will be too self-conscious to go there. Take a tour before you sign up to see what is offered and how people interact.

The health club can be a wonderful place for you to meet new people who share your similar interest. You can decide to have a workout buddy and meet at a certain time at the place or you can just encourage each other when you see them there. The possibilities are up to you and what level of interaction with new people you desire to have.

Motivate

As you continue to go to the health club, you will feel motivated. You will see familiar faces and see the progress people are making. That is encouraging too as you can see what the place holds for you. Being mentally and physically involved with your progress is going to make all the difference. For additional motivation, consider sessions with a personal trainer.

They will work with you individually to assist you with reaching your own goals. That could be to lose weight or to tone up. You may be interested in being more flexible and a stronger core. They will assist you with creating your workout plan of action so you can make those goals a reality, one step at a time.

Find a wonderful place to help you get started! It needs to be clean, safety oriented, and offer you all you need in order to get the results you seek. It should also be affordable as you don’t need stress about budgeting to pay your monthly fees.

About Us: Embody Fitness is an encouraging and fun place to work out! We challenge you to make changes to your lifestyle and to feel confident about how you look. Our personal trainers will be happy to customise a plan for you that is going to assist you with getting results. This is your opportunity to make positive changes for your mind, body, and your future health. We are proud to be a part of helping you to make healthy choices to last a lifetime. Check out our website to see all we offer at http://www.embodyfitness.ae. If you want to start that road to a better you, contact us today!

A Healthy Heart – But How?

In recent decades an enormous amount of research has been done to find out what the risk factors are for heart disease. We know a lot more now about the best ways to keep your heart healthy. Your genetics do play a part, but even if genetically you’re predisposed to heart disease, you can still follow a few simple guidelines and greatly reduce your risk of a heart attack.

Most of us are well aware that smoking is a major cause of lung cancer. But did you also know that it’s extremely bad for your heart? The smoke contains chemicals that irritate the circulatory system. This can lead to inflamed arteries, and I’m sure you can see how that’s bad for your heart. So if you want a healthy heart, throw the cigarettes in the bin.

Some other risk factors for heart disease, which I know I never would have guessed, are gum disease and tooth decay. Yes, that’s right, there’s a link between dental hygiene and arteriosclerosis, a major cause of heart disease. So the better care you take of your mouth, the healthier your heart will be. Gingivitis is caused by a type of bacteria, and if that bacteria travels to your heart, it can cause serious complications. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily, to help keep your heart healthy. Also, make sure you get regular dental checkups. Get cavities filled immediately, and do your best to keep your teeth healthy, as missing teeth can also indicate your heart’s in trouble.

A little more obvious is the fact that what you eat has a big effect on the health of your heart. It’s good to eat foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, including olive oil, walnuts and cold-water fish. Whole grains are another really good food, so forget the baked potatoes and white bread. Add in some fresh vegetables, particularly tomatoes and eggplants. You don’t have to skip dessert, either – a good serve of blueberries will do wonders for your heart.

Finally, one of the best things you can do to keep your heart healthy is exercise. It’s great for burning off that excess fat, particularly around the stomach area. Carrying fat on your belly is really hard on your heart. The fat also secretes harmful proteins into your bloodstream, and guess where they end up – your heart. Find a form of exercise you enjoy and persist with it. You can choose from running, swimming, biking, or even walking. Even walking 5 miles a day can burn 500 extra calories. You don’t even have to do it all at once, take a few shorter walks and you’ll still enjoy the benefits.

How to Reduce High Cholesterol Level Problems

High cholesterol levels can be a very serious threat to your health. There is a host of problems associated with having these high levels, and many of them can be very serious, if not deadly, to your health. With problems ranging from angina to stroke, it is in your best interest to reduce high cholesterol level problems as soon as possible.

To reduce high cholesterol level problems, it can be helpful to know exactly what cholesterol is. In all animals, cholesterol is the substance that is part of the cell membrane’s structure. This exists in all types of cells found in animals. Thus, if you remove the skin from a chicken, you get rid of most of the fat but a large amount of the cholesterol still remains. Since cholesterol is one of the integral parts of animals cell structures, the levels of cholesterol in all meats are generally the same.

While different animals vary across the range in fat content, they all generally contain twenty milligrams of cholesterol per ounce of meat. Dairy foods are the exception to this rule. In dairy products, the amount of cholesterol is directly related to the amount of fat. Since milk is not a part of an animal’s structure, it does not directly contain cholesterol but the fat that is found in the milk does. Therefore, if you are trying to reduce high cholesterol level problems, you are advised to get skim milk.

The most high cholesterol foods available are organ meats and eggs. By simply reducing your intake of these organ meats and eggs, and limiting your meat consumption while using low-fat dairy products, you can lower your cholesterol intake in no time. By doing this, you can save yourself from many dangers, including peripheral vascular disease, a terrible affliction of blood vessels which causes blood flow to slow down or stop. This may be a way to reduce high cholesterol level problems.

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A Global Epidemic – Heart Disease

Debra Augur has studied holistic nutrition for years, put that knowledge into practice, and has a passion to share that knowledge with others who are seeking their own best health. If we are what we eat, are we denatured, devitalized, deficient and potentially toxic?

The World Health Organization has identified a global epidemic of killer diseases in the world. If these diseases have the attention of the World Health Organization, then chances are that these diseases are most likely found in the third world, right?

Unfortunately for those who live in developed nations, this is not the case, and they are just as likely to fall victim to these diseases as someone in a third world country. Good nutrition can help prevent 65% of all diseases. Even for all the advantages that a developed nation has, a lot of their citizens can have poor eating habits that make them not much better off than their third world neighbors. Regardless of the quantity of those poor nutrition foods, their bodies are starving and malnourished in a different way.

The number one killer disease that the WHO has identified is cardiovascular disease. While a large number of diseases are linked to tobacco usage, the other high risk factors are physical inactivity and poor nutrition. In “The Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke” published by the WHO, low fruit and vegetable intake and high saturated fat intake, is identified as a major modifiable risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.

“Modifiable” means that this is a controllable factor. In developed countries, we should be grateful that we have the opportunity and means to have access to the types of foods that our bodies need in order to stay healthy. Radiant health is the reward for good, sound nutritional practices. In a third world country, there is not always the same level of access to the variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy fat sources that we are fortunate enough to have. Think of your local supermarket and the range of choices available to you, and you know that this is a good thing. Keep in mind, the one making these choices is ultimately you, and even if you’ve never made the healthy choices before, there is no reason to not start on your very next grocery trip.

In the vast majority of cases, coronary artery disease is the result of fatty plaque building up over time and narrowing the walls of an artery. A blockage in one of the main arteries to the heart signals the heart to not demand so much blood be pumped to it – oxygen-rich blood that the heart depends on. However, without oxygen, parts of the heart begin to shut down. If blood flow is cut off to a part of your heart, that section will die and a heart attack occurs.

Excessive blood fat and cholesterol, which are culprits in the shutting off of arteries, are generally preventable through whole food nutrition. Even those with a genetic and metabolic disposition can help themselves by following a sound nutritional plan. A lot of people live with a “not me” outlook on life, and only make a change when forced. Some never get the opportunity to make those changes to increase their longevity, dying before they have the option. Others figure an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Which camp would you prefer to be in?

If you want to be proactive, choose foods that are low fat, rich in good fats, high fiber, and high in antioxidants. It is a quality of life issue to do everything in your power to feel your best and to also prevent diseases that are within your control to keep at bay. Ask anyone with heart disease what they wish they had done differently, and most would agree that taking care of themselves before it got to the debilitating stage and they still had an option would have been first and foremost on their agenda.

Refined foods, processed foods, fast foods – all seem a quick and easy solution for a busy lifestyle. The reality is that they are a quick and easy solution to steal away your very vitality. Choose whole foods and vibrant health, and enjoy the life that you were meant to lead.

Heart Disease and Homocysteine

Are you aware that one of the most important indicators of heart disease is homocysteine? -1

A naturally occurring amino acid in your body, homocysteine can cause inflammation and damage to your blood vessels when levels become elevated because of a functional deficiency of B vitamins and Folic Acid. -2

Every week we read or hear about heart disease being one of the biggest health concerns facing America today. Most people have experienced this problem because they know a friend or family member with one of these health problems.

In many cases, they may be facing one of these conditions themselves.

Would it be fair to say you really want to take control of and improve your health?

All it takes is a special blood test (just like a test for cholesterol levels), to measure the level of homocysteine in your blood. It is NOT a routine test so do yourself a favor and ask your Doctor for the test.

Also this test may not be covered by your insurance – however, because it is so important to your health – get it anyway.

So what is the normal range for homo- cysteine levels? Your level should be under 8, below 7 is even better for your health.

How you can naturally and easily keep your homocysteine levels in the normal range? One can accomplish this with a few supplements and better eating habits for life.

And guess what? You are going to feel better and gain more energy in the process!

The first thing you may want to consider is taking a pharmaceutical grade natural multi-vitamin which contains B vitamins (B2,B6 and B12) and Folic acid 2-3 times a day. Why should I take a vitamin 2-3 times a day you ask? Because the body can only absorb so much nutrition at any one time.

Most quality vitamins will only contain about as much of a certain vitamin and mineral which can be absorbed by your body at one time.

Because the body needs nutrition throughout the day, this is one of the best ways to feed your body what it needs.

Coenzyme Q10 – or CoQ10. Research has shown and proven this to be effective in fighting heart disease: -3

Slows the effects of LDL cholesterol to fight heart disease.

Inhibits formation of free radicals

Replaces natural CoQ10 levels depleted by statin drugs and poor diet.

Next, here are some great natural food sources to keep your homocysteine levels in the normal range.

Vegetable proteins do not raise levels like some meat proteins can so eat plenty of leafy dark green vegetables.

Legumes (beans) of all kinds which are a great source of protein.

Eggs are a great source of protein – (the only protein with all 20 amino acids in the correct ratios for your body) and also a great source of Folic Acid, which helps to control your level of homocysteine.

Great sources of Soy like tofu, soy beverages, soy nuts.

Nuts – in particular – Brazil, walnuts, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts. As well as seeds – like sunflower seeds and flaxseed, which is also high in Folic Acid.

High quality grass fed organic beef, wild game, wild Alaskan salmon and sardines.

Poor quality sources of meat protein can actually raise your level of homocysteine.

So as you have learned, you can naturally and easily help your body avoid one of the factors which leads to heart disease with these proven, simple and low cost methods.

And guess what? Just imagine how you are going to feel better and gain more energy in the process in a short period of time!

1- Physicians Health Study, Milosevic-Tosic M. ,et al. Hyperhomocysteinemia – a risk factor for development of occlusive vascular diseases Med pregl. 2002 Sep-Oct;55(9-10):385-91

2- Hyman, Mark M.D., Liponis, Mark M.D. Ultra-Prevention, The 6-Week Plan that will Make you healthy for life, New York, Scribner, 2003, pgs 43, 50.

Commit To Lifetime Health And Fitness Avoid Heart Disease

Lifetime fitness is a commitment. It is the belief that keeping our minds and bodies healthy is more than just a noble idea; it requires definite actions that need to be taken on a regular basis. It is making conscious decisions that must be executed to ensure our lifetime goal. Lifetime health and fitness is a commitment to a lifestyle change to live a happier and healthier life.

Since the turn of the century, the average life span in the United States has increased markedly from 47 years old in 1900 to 77.3 years old at the turn of the century. While the rapid developments in new medical technology and medicine can be credited with most of the increases, a lack of commitment to lifetime fitness means that a majority of these people did not enjoy happy, healthy lifestyles.

Sadly, 33 percent of high school students across the country do not participate in the recommended amount of lifetime health and fitness activities as outlined by the Surgeon General and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. This lack of activity in fitness programs often carries into adulthood, where the number of people without lifetime exercise and fitness program increases.

According to a lifetime fitness report by the National Institute on Aging, only 58 percent of the American population engages in a lifetime fitness program that involves leisure time vigorous activity and of those people, only 26 percent do so three or more times a week as part of their lifetime fitness program.

So how does a lifetime exercise and fitness program improve your quality of life?

The Center for Disease Control lists the following top five annual causes of death in the United States.

* Heart disease: 696,947 deaths

* Cancer: 557,271 deaths

* Stroke: 162,672 deaths

* Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,816 deaths

* Accidents (unintentional injuries): 106,742 deaths

With the exception of accidental deaths, all other leading forms of death could have been avoided or delayed with a lifetime health and fitness program that included exercise, a healthy diet, and non-smoking.

When a lifetime health and fitness program includes a diet that low in cholesterol, a significant reduction in the build up of fatty deposits called plaque is noticeable in the arteries. If too much plaque forms in the arteries, they become clogged, reducing the amount of blood and oxygen that circulate to the coronary arteries, and can ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke.

A healthy lifetime fitness program should never include cigarette smoking. Smoking has been linked to cancer, chronic respiratory problems, and cancer.

Heart Matters

Your heart is between one to two times the size of your clenched fist. Contrary to popular belief, it is not located to one side of the body – it is located almost in the exact center of your chest. Due to the shape of the heart and chest cavity, the heart pounds against the chest wall on your left side, so the heart rate is stronger when felt there. Your heart is responsible for pumping about six quarts of blood throughout your body, with about the same amount of force that the average person applies when squeezing a tennis ball. The heart is not under voluntary control. A system known as the autonomic nervous system, which includes the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, is responsible for regulating your heart rate.

There are many ways to measure how healthy a heart is. A healthy heart should beat with a fairly regular rhythm that will change based on levels of exertion and oxygen requirements. It has a high stroke volume, which refers to the amount of blood that is pumped out with each beat. It does not have to work as hard to pump blood, so the resting heart rate will be lower than average. Blood pressure is another indicator of heart health and should be in the healthy range of around 120 over 80, as determined by the national average.

Various types of training have different effects on the heart. Training that elevates the heart rate (HR) for even brief durations can increase the size of the heart. This will increase the stroke volume, and result in a lower resting HR. Training can also increase the rate at which the heart recovers from a bout of intense work. In other words, a trained individual will return to their resting HR faster than a sedentary individual. Exercise has been shown to lower blood pressure. In addition, regular cardiovascular exercise can increase the concentration of hemoglobin in blood, allowing the body to become more efficient at transporting oxygen to the cells that need it (as well as removing waste products such as carbon dioxide).

The average resting HR for an adult is around 72 beats per minute, or 75 for women and 70 for men. The lowest recorded HR is 28 beats per minute, attributed to a Spanish cyclist named Miguel Indurain. Many athletes have resting HRs between the mid 30’s and mid 40’s. Bradycardia refers to a resting HR less than 60 beats per minute. It is simply a name for the condition of a slow heart, and does not imply an unhealthy one or disease. Tachycardia refers to a resting HR over 100 beats per minute, and is considered a very dangerous condition to have.

The notion of maximum HR was designed to help people safely and effectively exercise. The maximum HR is theoretically the most times that your heart can safely beat in the span of one minute. The traditional formula for computing maximum heart rate is 220 – age. I am 29, so my maximum heart rate would be computed at 191 beats per minute. As you can see, maximum heart rate will decrease with age.

It has been speculated that the generic equation for determining maximum HR is not very accurate. Individuals of the same age will have different sized hearts, stroke volume, blood pressure, resting HRs, and other factors that would contribute to the maximum possible beats per minute. A few attempts have been made to “fine tune” the formula, but even those efforts may fall short. One formula is known as the “adjusted heart rate”. It involves removing the resting heart rate from the maximum before applying a target formula. For example, if my target heart rate were 193, 80% of my maximum would be 154 beats per minute. In other words, my “target” heart rate at 80% is 154 beats. Using the adjusted method, I would first subtract my resting heart rate, apply the percentage, then add it back in. So, in this example:

193 (maximum heart rate) – 39 (resting heart rate) = 154.

154 x 80% = 123.

123 + 39 (adding resting heart rate back) = 162.

Therefore, instead of the traditional 154 beats per minute, my “adjusted target” at 80% would be 162 beats per minute. Another “tweak” to the traditional formula is known as the Tanaka method. Based on a study of literally thousands of individuals, a new formula was devised which is believed to be more accurate. The formula is 208 – 0.7 x age. Using this formula, my maximum HR when I was 27 would have been 208 – 0.7 x 27 = 189, or about 3 beats per minute less than the traditional formula.

So why even worry about your HR? Heart rate is a great indicator of training. In order to better understand HR, you must understand the various “systems” of energy that your body uses when you train. There are three systems that are always in effect, but one system will dominate based on the type of training. These systems are ATP-CP and glycolytic (both are anaerobic, or systems that do not rely on oxygen as the primary energy source) and aerobic.

The ATP-CP system is the system that bodybuilders are most familiar with. It is the system where your body is forced to perform work without the aid of oxygen. When you perform a repetition during a weight training exercise, your muscles contract and must generate force quickly to resist the weight. This action happens quickly, and your body is not able to use oxygen to fuel the contraction. Instead, your body will rely on stores of energy within the muscle cells, namely a compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and creatine phosphate. ATP depletes rapidly, and is replenished by CP. Sports that rely on this system include power lifting, shot put, and short distance sprints.

Bouts of work lasting more than a few seconds will draw energy mainly from the glycolytic system. Once ATP and CP are depleted, the glycolytic system kicks in. This system takes carbohydrate stored in the muscle cell (glycogen) and breaks down the glycogen to replenish ATP. Sports that utilize the glycolytic system include mid-distance sprinting, basketball, volleyball, boxing, and football. These are all sports that involve prolonged periods of moderate activity mixed with short bouts of near maximal effort.

Marathon runners and other distance runners use the aerobic system. The aerobic system utilizes oxygen for energy. The blood transports oxygen, so this system has the largest influence on the heart. Any type of activity that is prolonged (more than a few minutes) and does not involve repeated bouts of near maximal effort would use the aerobic system as the primary source of energy. Keep in mind that all systems are being used, but the aerobic system becomes the predominant system.

The rate at which your heart is pumping can help indicate which energy system is dominant at any given period of time. This is where the maximum heart rate and target HRs become useful. Traditionally, training “zones” have been determined based on percentage of the target HR. The common breakdown of these training zones is:

50% – 60% = low intensity

60% – 70% = fat-burning zone

70% – 80% = aerobic zone

80% – 90% = anaerobic zone

90% – 100% = maximal zone

The low intensity zone is ideal for burning calories without stressing your body. If you are recovering from a workout or an injury, on a reduced-calorie diet, or looking to burn additional calories with minimal impact on muscle gains, this a great zone to work out in. Brisk walking on an incline is an ideal way to reach this zone, and the main drawback is time. It takes the longest amount of time to burn a given number of calories when training in this zone.

The fat-burning zone is what I consider the land of myth. This is the most misunderstood zone in training. When you are at 60 to 70 percent of your target heart rate, the majority of your calories burned will come from fat, during that training session. Over 65% of your burned calories can come from fat. Due to this trivial fact, many people believe that this is the necessary zone to burn fat. This is not necessarily true. Any time you create a caloric deficit, or expend more calories than you consume, you will lose weight in the form of fat and/or muscle mass. While other systems may burn less percentage of fat, they can burn more calories and therefore result in greater fat loss!

As an example, let’s talk about the “aerobic zone.” In this zone, intensity increases, so less of your calories are burned from fat. However, due to the increased intensity, you burn more calories per minute. Does this mean that you should avoid the aerobic zone if fat loss is your goal? Let’s break this down.

It is estimated that 45% of calories in the “aerobic zone” are burned from fat. Let’s say you run 6mph to reach the “fat-burning zone” and you run 9mph to reach the “aerobic zone”.
In one hour, you will run either 6 miles or 9 miles. According to research, a 175-pound person burns on average about 34 calories per mile. So, in one hour, you might burn:

6 x 34 = 204 calories, or

9 x 34 = 306 calories

In the fat-burning zone, you burned 65% of your calories from fat. This is 204 x .65 = 133 calories from fat.

In the aerobic zone, you burned 45% of your calories from fat. This is 306 x .45 = 138 calories.

As you can see, getting comfortable and going into the “fat burning” zone actually burned fewer calories. You might say, “What’s the big deal? It was only 5 calories difference.” But when you take into account total calories, you burned over 100 more calories in the aerobic zone. Since total calories expended have the largest impact on the amount of fat you will lose, obviously the aerobic method will result in more fat loss (provided you also resistance train so that you are not losing muscle) than the “fat-burning” method.

The fat-burning zone and below used the aerobic system. In the aerobic zone, you are still using the aerobic system of energetics, but may see a shift towards the glycolytic system. Once you reach 80%, you are venturing into the glycolytic and ATP-CP zones (over 90% is going to be predominantly ATP-CP). So heart rate relative to your maximum heart rate can help understand where your fuel is coming from and even how many calories you will burn. What is interesting to note is that the longer you sustain an elevated heart rate (i.e. aerobic zone or higher), the longer it takes for your body to recover by slowing down. This means you continue to have a faster metabolism and to burn more calories even after your training is done!

I mentioned these “traditional” zones because I don’t like to follow tradition when it comes to monitoring heart rate. For one, I feel that perceived effort is just as valid an indicator. Why limit yourself based on a “zone” you must workout in, when you can simply push yourself to achieve your results! Another problem with the traditional method is that it does not take into account errors with the heart rate calculations – should I train in the same zone as someone whose resting heart rate is 75 beats per minute (my own resting heart rate is around 39 beats per minute)? I don’t think so – I think that the lower resting heart rate is an indicator of advanced fitness and means that I can train more intensely. What if your heart is maxing out at 170 beats per minute instead of 193? Should you still “push the limit” because the equation tells you to? I don’t think so.

Heart rate can still be a useful tool for training, but you must learn to use your body as the tool, not the equation. For example, if you want to understand what your anaerobic zone is, instead of plugging away at a formula, why not perform anaerobic work? I can guarantee that you will be using your ATP-CP system (a completely anaerobic system) when you perform a one-rep max. So instead of taking 90% of 220 minus your age, just strap on a heart rate monitor the next time you perform a maximum lift. Then, instead of relying on statistics, your body will tell you what your “anaerobic” zone is. This may not be traditional, but do you think your heart will lie?

Once you have this useful information, you can apply it to your training. If you are performing high intensity interval training, and would rather have your heart dictate the intervals than your perception, let your body be the guide. Start by walking on an incline for several minutes. This is your low intensity zone. Now go outside and perform an all-out sprint. This will be your high intensity zone. Now you simply build intervals between those two heart rates for your training. Again, no equation that has no clue what the size of your heart is or what your blood chemistry is like – let your body be the tool.

As a final note, heart rate can apply to resistance training as well. If you are looking to reduce body fat, calories are king. Should you rest 15 seconds? 1 minute? How about staying in the “aerobic” zone? Pick a target rate for your training. Your “75% effort” (somewhere between your sprinting and incline walking) could be the bottom line. Simply rest until your heart rate drops to that level, and then perform the next set. This will ensure your heart rate is always elevated to a minimal level while allowing sufficient recovery to move on. When you are training for strength or heavy lifts, how long should you rest? 3 minutes? 10 minutes? Again, why not let your body decide. Rest until you fall to the fat-burning zone or even less, then start the next set. For you, this may only take 2 minutes, while another person will recover after 10 minutes of rest. The key is that your body is telling you when sufficient recovery has taken place to perform the next set – not some rigid standard like “4 minutes” that doesn’t take into account your specific, individual recovery ability.

When you are training, don’t forget the most important muscle: your heart. Not only is it an indicator of health, it is a tool that can help to improve your health. Instead of relying on cookie-cutter formulas, you can use your heart as an interactive gauge to tailor your workouts to your own unique body. Learn that the heart matters and use the powerful information it provides to build your peak physique.

Heart Disease Risk – Activity Levels and the Risk of Early Death from Heart Disease

It’s official.

You have the power to choose – get active now or be prepared to die at a young age.

This is scary stuff but the message above is real enough. Researchers have now confirmed what common sense and instinct always told us: that general physical activity and exercise is a critically important part of maintaining good health.

People who are physically active are less likely than their sedentary counterparts to develop chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and other heart or cardiovascular disease. There is also a strong link between physical activity and death rates. In particular, physical activity is associated with a reduction in the risk of death due to heart disease. Those of us who exercise regularly – even in a modest way – die less often from heart disease than our sedentary friends.

Please try to get active – just stop and think about this for a minute: the amount of physical activity that you undertake is directly predictive of your risk of early death even if you have multiple heart risk factors or if you have preexisting heart disease. Risk factors for heart disease include having high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and smoking. What this means is that it’s never too late to start a bit of regular exercise.

Many of us in the Western World have a high risk of heart disease because of our lifestyle habits and our body weight. A number of good research studies have shown that those with most risk factors to start with tend to be more sedentary than individuals at lower risk for heart disease. Could this be you – do you fit this description? If you do then for goodness sake do something about it .. Now!

A recent research study looked at almost one thousand American adults below retirement age. They followed these people for eight years and a huge amount of data was gathered about their health and their lifestyle. The study found that those with risk factors for heart disease were about thirty percent more likely to die than the rest of the population. They were also more likely to live a sedentary lifestyle.

Taking regular light or moderate exercise reduced the risk of early death by a dramatic ratio.

What’s the message – we should all be active to a greater degree than at present. If you have high blood pressure, are overweight, have diabetes, a high cholesterol or are a smoker (or more than one of these risks) – then you need to increase your level of exercise … and start now. Your life, quite literally, depends on it!

Treatment of Heart Disease with Coenzyme Q10

Since its discovery in the late 1950s Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has received much attention as a necessary compound for proper cellular function. It is the essential coenzyme necessary for the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) upon which all cellular functions depend. Without ATP our bodies cannot function properly. Without CoQ10, ATP cannot function. This connection has made CoQ10 a very important object of study in relation to chronic disease.

In many cases the presence of chronic disease is associated with inadequate levels of CoQ10. But no area of study has received more attention than the relation between CoQ10 and heart disease. That is because CoQ10 is believed to be of fundamental importance in cells with high metabolic demands such as cardiac cells. A further reason the connection of heart disease and CoQ10 has gained so much attention is because heart conditions of many kinds are associated with chronically low CoQ10 levels.

CoQ10 is highly concentrated in heart muscle cells because of their high energy requirements. Add this to the fact that heart disease is the number one killer in developed and developing countries and one can see why the bulk of scientific research on CoQ10 has been concerned with heart disease. Specifically, studies on congestive heart failure have demonstrated a strong correlation between the severity of heart failure and the degree of CoQ10 deficiency. The lower the levels of CoQ10 in the heart muscles the more severe the heart failure. If indeed CoQ10 deficiency is a primary cause of congestive heart failure then, in such cases, the remedy is simple and cost effective; CoQ10 supplementation.

Congestive heart failure is a condition where the heart does not pump effectively resulting in an accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing when lying flat and leg or ankle swelling. Causes include chronic hypertension, cardiomyopathy (primary heart disease) and myocardial infarction (irreversible injury to heart muscles). Heart muscle strength is measure by the ejection fraction which is a measure of the fraction of blood pumped out of the heart with each beat. A low ejection fraction indicates a weak heart.

Several trials have been conducted involving patients with enlarged weak heart muscles of unknown causes. For those of you who like difficult phrases this condition (or variety of conditions) is known as idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. In these trials CoQ10 supplementation was compared to placebo effects. Standard treatments for heart failure were not discontinued. The results were measured by echocardiography (a diagnostic test which uses ultrasound waves to make images of the heart chambers, valves and surrounding structures).

The overall results of CoQ10 supplementation demonstrated a steady and continued improvement in heart function as well as steady and continued reduction in patient symptoms including fatigue, chest pains, palpitations and breathing difficulty. Patients with more establish and long-term cases showed gradual improvement but did not gain normal heart function. Patients with newer cases of heart failure demonstrated much more rapid improvement often returning to normal heart function.

Papers numbering in the hundreds from eight different symposia have been written and presented on the effects of CoQ10 on heart disease. International clinical studies have also been conducted in the United States, Japan, Germany, Italy and Sweden. Together these studies and the papers that have been derived from them demonstrate significant improvement in heart muscle function while causing no adverse effects.

One particular area of study involves diastolic dysfunction which is one of the earliest signs of myocardial failure. Diastole is the phase of the cardiac cycle when the heart is filled with returning blood. Because this phase requires more cellular energy than the systolic phase (when the blood is pushed out of the heart) it is more dependent on CoQ10. Diastolic dysfunction is a stiffening of the heart muscle which naturally restricts the heart’s ability to pump. This condition is associated with many cardiac disorders. Hypertension is among these disorders. As the heart muscles become stiff there is often a corresponding rise in blood pressure. When the diastolic dysfunction is reversed, blood pressure tends to lower as well.

In one study involving 109 patients with hypertension, CoQ10 supplementation was added to normal hypertension treatments. In an average of 4.4 months 51% of the patients were able stop using at least one blood pressure lowering medication. Some were able to stop using up to three medications. Another study produced similar results. In that study 43% of 424 patients were able to stop using between one and three cardiovascular drugs because of CoQ10 supplementation.

These examples are just a drop in the bucket. Diastolic dysfunction (and by proxy, hypertension) includes only a small sampling of heart conditions that respond favorably to CoQ10 supplementation. Other areas of research show great promise for CoQ10 treatments. Among these are cancer and AIDS. But such conditions are beyond the scope of this essay. CoQ10 is essential to the proper functioning of all cell types. It is not surprising, therefore, to find a diverse number of diseases that respond favorably to CoQ10 supplementation. Since all metabolically active tissues are highly sensitive to CoQ10 deficiency, we can expect to see CoQ10 research expand to many other areas of chronic diseases.

How 40,000 People Reversed Heart Disease

It is well known that about two-thirds of the U.S. population is either overweight or obese. The U.S. Surgeon General has stated that approximately 75% of Western diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, gout, arthritis, excess weight gain, hypertension, diabetes, some cancers, impotence, biventricular disease, constipation, heartburn, and gallbladder disease, are “lifestyle-related.” They are directly correlated with our high fat diet, inadequate amounts of exercise, smoking, high intake of caffeine, and high amounts of stress coupled with insufficient support.

Hoping to address this alarming situation, more than 20 years ago, cardiovascular epidemiologist Hans A. Diehl, DrHSc, MPH, created the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP). Since then, this 40-hour community-based lifestyle intervention program has helped more than 40,000 people rediscover their health by preventing, arresting and reversing their diseases. It has been conducted in more than 150 North American cities as well as in Bangalore, India, Australia and Switzerland. Depending upon the needs of the group, the meetings are held either “live” with Dr. Diehl delivering the program personally (usually meeting four times per week for four weeks) or as a “video-based” program with certified CHIP facilitators (normally two times per week for eight weeks). In addition, Dr. Diehl is a best-selling author – To Your Health, Dynamic Living, and Health Power (co-authored with Aileen Ludington, M.D.) — as well as the executive editor of a 24-page quarterly Lifeline Health Letter; he has produced scores of health videos. CHIP empowers people through its scientifically-documented, educational and inspirational program that addresses common western diseases — those that used to be seen primarily later in life.

Today, these diseases increasingly appear at far younger ages. CHIP may make all the difference in one’s life — even the difference between life and death.

In 1999, CHIP launched a “community health transformation template” in Rockford, Illinois, a city with a population of 130,000. The intention was to transform Rockford into the healthiest city in American, thereby enabling it to serve as a model and template for cultural transformation on a community-wide level. Recently, CHIP was recognized as just such a model by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and was “approved” under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a “STEPS to a HealthierUS” applicant. In addition to “live” CHIP, a series of CHIP videos are offered through schools, churches, corporations, and hospitals. In Rockford, CHIP is sponsored by the Swedish American Health System’s Center for Complementary Medicine.

Who is the typical CHIP participant? Generally, CHIP participants are over the age of 40. Most are between the ages of 50 and 59. There are twice as many women as men, and almost 90% are married. Clinical research, published in peer review journals, has found that they have the following lifestyle diseases:

  • 10% report having heart disease
  • 27% have elevated blood sugar
  • 42% are overweight
  • 49% show evidence of hypertension
  • 60% are obese
  • 89% are cholesterol above 160mg%

Over the course of the program, strict adherents are likely to experience significant clinical improvements such as the following:

  • Serum cholesterol reduction average 15 – 20%
  • Average weight loss of six pounds
  • In about half of the participants with type 11 diabetes, a dramatic reduction in need for insulin and hypoglycemic agents
  • Lowering of high blood pressure levels
  • Diminishing of angina
  • Reduced levels of depression and increase in self-esteem

Class & Video Lecture Schedule

Week 1

Modern Medicine: Miracles, Medicines, & Mirages

The limitations of high-tech medical approaches in dealing with lifestyle related diseases

Portrait of a Killer: Onslaught from Within

Atherosclerosis, the culprit in many lifestyle diseases

Stalking the Killer

Reviewing the risk factors for coronary heart disease

Eat More and Weigh Less

Basic guidelines for healthy, sustained weight loss

Week 2

Going Up in Smoke

Smoking – the most controllable risk factor for coronary heart disease

The Magic of Fiber

The role of fiber in preventing and reversing lifestyle diseases

Reversing Hypertension

Changing the major risk factors for high blood pressure

Disarming Diabetes

Lifestyle factors that can arrest or reverse diabetes

Effective Cholesterol Control

Dietary factors that prominently affect blood levels of cholesterol

Fats in the Fire

The role of excessive fat intake in lifestyle diseases

Week 3

Fit at Any Age

Benefits of regular exercise in preventing and arresting disease

Boning Up on Osteoporosis

Cause and prevention of this so-called “disease of aging”

Lifestyle and Health

Clinical studies that demonstrate how lifestyle choices are related to health

The Optimal Diet

Positive dietary guidelines for the prevention and reversal of Western diseases

Week 4

Diet and Cancer

Dietary factors in the development and prevention of common cancers

Atherosclerosis of the Mind

The importance of adaptability in achieving and maintaining optimal health

The Gift of Forgiveness

How a spirit of forgiveness enhances emotional and overall health

Building Self-Worth

The development, preservation and role of self worth in a healthy person

Sidebar

Connie Thebarge’s Story

At the age of 59, Connie Thebarge, a patient at the Ottawa Heart Institute in British Columbia, Canada, was told that her doctors could no longer help her. After all, in addition to suffering from hypertension, she had diabetes and painful diabetic neuropathy. She had two heart attacks followed by a triple coronary bypass surgery and an unsuccessful angioplasty. Every day, she had to take 27 pills. Not surprisingly, she was also depressed.