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Prevent Heart Disease
By: Mike Spencer

Copyright 2005 Mike Spencer

You should always keep in mind that whatever actions you do today can either help to prevent, delay or minimize the effect of heart disease or worsen it. The key is to control risk factors. Granted that you cannot control every risk factor for heart disease such as family history but you can definitely do something about your behavior. Age and gender also influence your risk of heart disease.

Major Risk Factors of Heart Disease

Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is a type of a lipid, a soft, fatlike substance that serves as a source of fuel. Excessive cholesterol can cause buildup of atherosclerotic plaque. Accumulation of plaque in arteries can block blood flow and lead to a heart attack. LDL cholesterol, the so-called "bad" cholesterol, is transported to sites throughout the body, where it's used to repair cell membranes or to make hormones. LDL cholesterol can accumulate in the walls of your arteries. HDL cholesterol, the so-called "good" cholesterol, transports cholesterol to the liver, where it's altered and removed from the body.

Blood Pressure

Normal blood pressure level is defined as less than 130 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for systolic blood pressure and less than 85 mm Hg for diastolic blood pressure. The higher the blood pressure, the more likely it is to take a toll on the heart and on the brain. Blood pressure should be checked whether or not your levels are high. For normal, check once every two years. For high-normal, check once a year. If extremely high, you should get immediate care. Then get multiple measurements to know if a high level is sustained over time.

Diabetes

Another risk factor for heart disease is diabetes, a chronic disease of insulin deficiency or resistance. Type 2 diabetes, the most common type, is associated with obesity and may be prevented by maintaining ideal body weight through exercise and balanced nutrition.

Tips For Controlling Risk of Heart Disease

Stop Smoking

The effect of smoking on your lungs can cause almost every other medical condition.

Get Active

Routine physical activity is highly recommended and helpful in controlling obesity. Try to perform 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Fast walking is one of the best way to prevent heart disease. If you can lose even a small amount of weight, five pounds for example, it may have a positive effect on lipid levels and blood pressure preventing heart disease.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

Limit daily alcohol intake to three ounces or fewer to prevent heart disease. People who drink large amounts of alcohol (six to eight ounces a day) tend to have higher blood pressure.

Watch What You Eat

Eat five helpings of fruits and vegetables daily to prevent heart disease.

Maintain adequate dietary potassium, calcium and magnesium intake.

Reduce saturated fats and cholesterol to stay away from heart disease.

About the Author

Mike Spencer has been helping people protect their health for many years. To find out how you can help protect your heart and prevent heart disease visit mikes site at:
http://www.heart-healthy-diet.com


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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape

 

Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.


Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
shocks.

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
speaking.

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
time.

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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