Weight Loss is Good for your Heart Health

Why Weight Loss is good for your heart health

We all know what it’s like to make that resolution to get up off the couch and start going back to the gym at the start of the New Year. Good luck finding a spot on the elliptical – everyone has the same  resolution to finally get in shape and starts now. I hope you’ll stick with it and continue exercising on a regular basis every week this year.

I also wanted to write a blog about how weight loss can do more for you than just help you fit back into those jeans waiting patiently in your closet for you to drop those 5 or 10 extra pounds. We all want to look better in our clothes, but we also want to transform our future and improve our heart health.

As many of you know, weight loss is not just about going to the gym – it’s a complete lifestyle shift. It’s behavioral at it’s core. It’s complicated! It’s about making choices, and getting the support you need, because let’s face it, if losing weight was simple, we’d all be fitting into our jeans and never worrying about pinching that extra inch.

Why it’s important to exercise

Did you know that exercising regularly for 20-30 minutes each day will help:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower heart rate
  • Improve how the heart utilizes oxygen
  • Strengthen all your muscles including the heart muscle
  • Improve circulation
  • Improve sleep
  • Increase energy and endurance
  • Help reduce the effects of cardiovascular disease that may already be present

 

Exercise also helps reduce the risk of some forms of cancer, including breast cancer

What if more help is needed?

cardiac rehab el camino hospitalMy patients are healthy and want to stay that way, (that’s why they need to exercise!) And yet many care for a  loved one who is limited by their cardiovascular status. I hear from people who are afraid to exercise because they think it will put too much stress on their heart. If that’s a concern, then please do consult with a cardiologist.

Find one who will help you tailor the exercise plan to the person’s own strengths, challenges and health issues. If you have access to a cardiac rehabilitation center, then take advantage of what they have to offer. The goal is to help people get to their optimum level of functioning and reduce the progression of any disease. What does that mean?

Well many of my patients are caring for a relative who can’t walk around the block, they can’t go to the movies or even go grocery shopping. Even with a handicap sticker, they aren’t able to live their lives the way they want. Going to a wedding or graduation might be too much, even meeting friends for lunch. People get depressed when they can’t function, and that brings on a whole host of other issues.

The  I’ve been sending my patients to El Camino Hospital’s Cardiovascular Pulmonary Wellness Center for many years. This is a resource for people who have asthma, heart disease, COPD and can provide cardiac rehabilitation on many different levels.

The Cardiovascular Pulmonary Wellness Center at El Camino Hospital has been awarded Program Certification for both the Cardiac Rehabilitation and the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programs by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).

Free Heart Healthy Events

If you live in the SF Bay area, there are some great upcoming seminars on heart healthand how you can improve it. I’m going to be moderating one in February  and another in March. Here are some other options that look particularly interesting and just might help you keep your heart healthier:

Cardiac Risk Reduction Lecture Series:

keep blood pressure below 130/84El Camino Hospital’s Cardiovascular Pulmonary Wellness Center offers this lecture series once a week for patients and their families who are in cardiac rehabilitation. Subject matter deals with risk factor reduction for heart disease. Topics include Heart Healthy Nutrition, Cholesterol, Diabetes Health, Stress Management, Exercise and Physiology.

Heart Matters:

A 12-week, interactive, small-group program that offers scientifically researched cognitive and behavioral tools for managing stress.

Free Weekly Blood Pressure Screenings:

A registered nurse volunteer provides free blood pressure monitoring every Friday morning from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (except holidays) on the first floor of the main hospital building next to the Health Library & Resource Center. There is no fee, and no appointment is needed. Please call 650-940-7210 for more details.

Disclosure: I’m working with El Camino Hospital to help raise awareness about improving cardiovascular health. I’ll be moderating an interactive seminar on women and heart disease in Los Gatos February 12, 2014 and a heart forum March 15

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