There’s No Such Thing as “Enough” Exercise for Heart Health

If you’re among of the millions of Americans who dutifully carve out 30 minutes a day for the moderate-intensity exercise recommended by experts based on the idea that you’re doing all you can for your heart, you’re in for some disappointing news.

A new analysis published Monday in the journal Circulation finds that that amount of activity may not be good enough.

Source: New study says 30 minutes of exercise a day is not enough. You should double or quadruple that.

Let the guilt trip begin! 🙂

With family, work and such – it’s really hard to get much exercise in.  But it’s worth it.

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Why a Weak Handshake is Bad News For Your Heart

The strength of your handshake could indicate the chance of a future heart attack, a major study suggests.

Researchers found that the vigour of a person’s grip could predict the risk of heart attacks and strokes – and was a stronger indicator of death than checking systolic blood pressure.

The study in The Lancet, involving almost 140,000 adults in 17 countries, found weak grip strength was linked to shorter survival and a greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Source: Why a weak handshake is bad news for your heart

While I agree that an inexpensive, non-invasive test would be great… A percentage under 20% is not worth the effort of pursuing.

Can You Lift Weights Faster Instead of Doing Traditional Cardio?

In a 2012 interview for “Faces of MN,” I discussed my answer to the not-infrequent question about what I do for exercise. When I answer that I lift weights and leave it at that, I’m often met with a hesitant follow-up question: “So…what do you do for cardio?”

My answer has long been, “I lift weights faster.”

Source: Can You Lift Weights Faster Instead of Doing Traditional Cardio?

Interesting read.  I was told by a swim coach that when runners were injured, they were told to increase swimming to maintain cardio.  It makes sense that, given the right exercise you can get cardio benefits.

Is this the new iron deficiency?

If you’re lacking energy, easily annoyed, and generally feel sort of off, look to your diet. While iron deficiencies may get all the ink, it’s not the only mineral that could be missing from your meals. Lack of magnesium — a common, but silent, deficiency — impacts about half of the population, data suggests.

Source: Is this the new iron deficiency?

Sources for magnesium?  Pumpkin seeds have the most, but there’s lots of calories in nuts so spinach is the next best source (which is a concern for us on blood thinners).  Sesame seeds, black beans, sunflower seeds, navy beans are safer for us.  You can read more about magnesium here.

Salt, potassium and magnesium are three major things I try to incorporate more than I used to.  I use a Nuun tablet in my water if I’m to be doing something for longer than an hour.

Arsenic in the Water: Heart Risk

Ana Navas-Acien can’t quite recall the moment when she began to worry about arsenic in drinking water and its potential role in heart disease.  Perhaps it was when she read a study suggesting a link among people in Bangladesh.  And a similar study in Taiwan. And in Chile.

Several years ago, Dr. Navas-Acien, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, decided to see if similar links could be found in the United States.

Source: A Heart Risk in Drinking Water

Sadly, the article doesn’t have any suggestions for preventative measures.  Only that they were looking at filters on wells.  Ground/well water is largely the focus.

Ode to the Avocado

You can search and find numerous articles that extol the virtues of the avocado. This is my favourite article.  Lifting from the best:

With lots of calories and being high in fat (85% of its calories come from fat) – it’s good fat. Avocado’s support for heart and blood vessels might be surprising to some people who think about avocado as too high in fat for heart health.  Heart health is improved by intake of oleic acid (the primary fatty acid in avocado) and by intake of omega-3 fatty acids (provided by avocado in the form of alpha-linolenic acid and in the amount of 160 milligrams per cup). Since elevated levels of homocysteine form a key risk factor for heart disease, and since B vitamins are very important for healthy regulation of homocysteine levels, avocado’s significant amounts of vitamin B-6 and folic acid provide another channel of heart support.

There’s avocado’s ability to help prevent osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis…  And that avocado helps prevent the occurrence of cancers in the mouth, skin, and prostate gland…

Starting to see why it’s recommended that you consume at least half an avocado a day?  Avocado’s are also low in Vitamin K, but 1 cup/150 grams of avocado does provide ~35% of the Daily Value (DV).  All things in moderation…

Lots serve avocado by the slice or cube in recipes.  I currently find guacamole (recipe) works for me – I can use it as a mayonnaise substitute with tuna, a topping on pasta (recipe) or pizza, garnish in a pita pocket or English muffin.  You can read here about how to minimize the browning.