Do You Have High Blood Pressure? Find Out with This New Online Interactive Tool

Do You Have High Blood Pressure? Find Out with This New Online Interactive Tool

Nearly half of the adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. This means that you or someone close to you has a blood pressure reading at 130/80 or higher.

It wasn’t always this way – just a couple of years ago 1 in 3 Americans had high blood pressure instead of nearly 1 in 2.

So why the change? Does this mean we’re getting less healthy?

It’s quite the opposite. Based on years of scientific study, the change means we’re actually more aware of the effects of elevated blood pressure.

Two years ago, the definition of high blood pressure changed from 140/90 to 130/80 (technically 130+ or 80+, but we’re keeping it simple here). The result is that more people became classified as having high blood pressure. It doesn’t mean that thousands of people became ill overnight, though. It means we want people to know that high blood pressure is serious, and that it can begin damaging your blood vessels and organs at lower levels than previously thought, particularly if you don’t act to keep your numbers from rising.

It’s worth noting that blood pressure tends to rise naturally as we age, so it typically hasn’t been on the health radar for people under age 45. However, with the new definition, an important health alert was sent to people in their 20s and 30s to pay attention to their blood pressure levels. Among men aged 20 -44, the rate of high blood pressure nearly tripled. Among women in that age range, it doubled.

The American Heart Association has created an interactive tool that can help you not only identify your health risk according to your blood pressure level, but also provide notes on what actions you can take to ensure it stays at, or gets to, a healthy level. You can check it out at www.heart.org/BPlevels.

Making changes that matter can have a significant impact on your blood pressure levels. In fact, most of those who suddenly find themselves with high blood pressure under the new definition will be given a “prescription” for lifestyle changes – not medicine – that can lower their pressure.  Even for those who do require medication to control their levels, lifestyle changes help those meds work better and can even help you stay on lower doses. Some examples of a lifestyle change prescription include:

Physical activity:

  • 90 – 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity can drop your top blood pressure number (called systolic pressure) by 5-8 mmHg.
  • 90 – 150 minutes per week of dynamic resistance exercise can drop your systolic blood pressure 4 mmHg

 A healthy diet:

  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, such as the DASH eating plan can drop your systolic pressure up to 11 mmHg.

 Sodium (i.e. salt):

  • Reducing your salt intake by about 1000 mg per day has a similar effect on systolic pressure as increasing aerobic activity – dropping it about 5 mmHg.

 Weight loss:

  • For about every 2 pounds lost, your systolic pressure could drop 1 mmHg.

The benefits of lifestyle change can add up quickly. Many of the same lifestyle prescriptions that lower blood pressure also reduce the risk of other dangerous conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular physical activity can help you lead a healthier and longer life!

Article contributed by Sondra DePalma, DHSc, PA-C, Cardiology, PinnacleHealth Cardiovascular Institute, Harrisburg, PA

American Heart Association Volunteer

Disclaimer: Some slight edits may have been made to the article’s original copy for grammatical reasons and/or clarity. 


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Mental Health Month – Podcast Ep. 23

Mental Health Month – Podcast Ep. 23


Welcome to the 23rd episode of the Living Healthy podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

May marks the start of Mental Health Month, and so on today’s episode, we bring back Dr. Neel Doshi, to help us understand exactly what mental illness is, the effects of mental illness on the body, and how social media and technology play into these conditions.  

We also discuss ways to reach out for treatment and the future of mental health in general. Dr. Doshi is double board certified in Adult Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, with Kaiser Permanente of Orange County. He joined us about 6 months ago to discuss this topic, and we had yet another great conversation with him!   

For more information on ways you can get involved for Mental Health Month, please visit http://lafitnesscares.com/

Let us know how we’re doing by tweeting us @LAFitness using the hashtag #LivingHealthyPodcast or send us an email at blog@fitnessintl.com. We love to hear from you! (We really do!) 

This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Timecard Markers – Mental Health Month – Podcast Ep. 23

Introduction    

Begins at 0:01    

Dr. Neel Doshi, double board certified in Adult Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, with Kaiser Permanente of Orange County, joins the show    

Begins at 0:39 

What is Mental Health? 

0:48 

Why is Mental Health Becoming So Mainstream?  

2:48 

How Can We Bridge the Empathy Gap? 

4:20 

What Are the Best Ways to Engage with Someone Struggling with a Mental Illness?  

5:27 

How Do Mood and Emotions Correlate with Mental Health?  

7:42 

How Much Does Your Environment Affect Your Mood?  

9:09 

Humor’s Impact on Mental Health 

10:32 

Natural Defense Mechanisms: How They Play a Part in Our Emotions  

12:28 

Social Media and Technology: How It Affects Mental Health  

13:06 

Mental Health Apps  

14:25 

Which is a Bigger Threat to Positive Mental Health: Social Media or Living a Sedentary Life? 

17:35 

Are There Certain Types of Exercise That Are Best for Improving Mental Health?  

20:26 

How Long Should You Exercise to Reap the Benefits?  

21:52 

Does Everyone with Mood Issues Need to Be in Therapy?  

24:03 

The Future of Mental Health 

25:10 

Actionable Advice 

26:36 

Outro 

28:17 


Recommended Podcast Episodes 

What is Considered Being “Mentally Healthy”?

What is Considered Being “Mentally Healthy”?

What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social health and well-being. It is important at every age. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), mental health is “… a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities can cope with the normal stresses of life can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” It is important to note that the WHO stresses that mental health “is not just the absence of a mental disorder.”

Why is it important?

Mental Health is important because it affects us every day, in almost everything we do. It impacts how we function, interact with others, and how we feel about ourselves and our lives.  Furthermore, it can have a profound impact on our bodies and physical health as well.

What can be done to improve mental health?

For children and adults, learning how to identify and understand our emotions is a vital component in improving mental health. Emotions are not bad – however, we need to better teach people to identify and understand their emotions and most importantly, what to do with them.  We also must teach and develop personal coping skills so that one can process and use their emotions in a healthy and productive manner.

There are several key things we can all do to improve and maintain our mental health which includes keeping a regular schedule, especially ensuring adequate sleep. Getting regular exercise (even low intensity like walking counts) every day. Try to reduce the amount of time you sit for, as they say, “sitting is the new smoking”! Try and eat a healthy well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. Connecting with others and helping others can also improve our mental health. Lastly, don’t be afraid to get professional help if you need it!

How someone can get help if they need it?

It doesn’t always feel like it, but there is help everywhere.  A few national resources that are available to anyone are the National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255), Textline (741741), and online chat. The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI.org) is a great resource not just for those who are struggling with their mental health, but also for their families.  For the LGBTQ+ population, Trevor Project has a hotline (1-866-488-7386), Textline (678678), online chat and multiple other online resources too.

Individuals should also contact their healthcare provider to learn more about the resources that they offer.  At Kaiser Permanente, our mental health resources include a wide range of services for all ages from medication management, individual therapy, group therapy, wellness phone coaching and in-person classes through our Center for Healthy Living as well as numerous online services. 

There are also people around you that are there to help, whether it’s a teacher, a coach, a religious leader or spiritual counselor, a supervisor at work or an Employee Assistance Program.

Kaiser Permanente also has a great website called FindYourWords.org which provides resources and help for those wanting to help someone else or those looking for help themselves. 

Mental Health Tip!

One of my favorite exercises to recommend to patients is gratitude. Thinking of three things you are grateful for every night before you go to bed has been shown to significantly improve your mood. It doesn’t have to be anything outrageous, you can be grateful for having a bed to sleep in, or for your bad day being over, or for the amazing thing that happened to you that day. But, remember just three! No more, no less, even if every night it’s the same three and kids can do it too. Try it for a week, see how you feel!

Ashley Zucker

MD, Chief of Psychiatry , Kaiser Permanente, San Bernardino

Responses contributed by Ashley Zucker, MD, Chief of Psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente in San Bernardino.


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All About That Cardio – Podcast Ep. 22

All About That Cardio – Podcast Ep. 22


Welcome to the 22nd episode of the Living Healthy podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of Living Healthy, we bring back to the show LA Fitness, Personal Training Director, Tristen Alleman and, as always, listener favorite Dietitian Debbie! They help explain the importance of establishing and maintaining a balanced workout routine and how nutrition plays an important part in this. 

Let us know how we’re doing by sending us an email at blog@lafitness.com! 

Don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an episode and get in touch with us on our social channels using the hashtag #LivingHealthyPodcast.

This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Timecard Markers – All About That Cardio – Podcast Ep. 22 

Introduction

Begins at 0:01   

Cardio Bunny Song 

Begins at 0:42 

What is a Cardio Bunny? 

0:57 

LAF Personal Training Director, Tristen Allemanand LAF Registered Dietitian, Debbie James, Join the Show  

1:23 

Why is Cardio So Important? 

1:43 

What Exercises Are Considered Cardio? 

2:51 

What About Cardio Affects the Heart? 

3:33 

What Foods Are Good to Eat on Cardio-Focused Work Out Days? 

4:16 

Are Protein Shakes Needed on Cardio Days? Or Should They Be Saved for Strength Training Days? 

6:00 

Why Do Cardio Workouts Tend to Burn More Calories in Shorter Amounts of Time? 

8:36 

How Often Should You Include Cardio Workouts into Your Routine?  

10:23 

What’s Better: Cardio Before or After a Workout?  

12:01 

Is One Type of Cardio Better Than Another? HIIT? Cycle? Treadmill? Zumba®?  

12:41 

Is Caffeine Before an Aerobic Workout a Good Thing? What About Fruit Juice? 

13:32 

Can Too Much Cardio Damage Your Body? 

15:16 

NEW SEGMENT: Rapid Fire Social Media Questions from Our Listeners! 

18:04 

Actionable Advice 

23:02 

Outro 

24:37 


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Have You Heard of HIIT by LAF?

Have You Heard of HIIT by LAF?

Short on time but still looking to get a solid workout in? Then it’s time to turn to HIIT by LAF®. If you aren’t sure what HIIT stands for, it’s short for high-intensity interval training – and it’s definitely something you should be adding to your workout routine.

If you’ve never heard of HIIT training, or you’re looking for a group setting to help give you that extra encouragement and push, then HIIT by LAF® is the right thing for you.

What is HIIT by LAF?

HIIT by LAF is a workout that is designed for almost every level of fitness, age, and goal type. These high-tech and high-energy workouts are led by motivating, certified fitness coaches who set the pace and vibe of the room. Each workout is 50-minutes long and comprised of a variety of functional exercises, core training, cardio interval training, and strength training.  Wearing optional heart rate monitors, participants are led through five heart rate training zones, with each zone representing variations in levels of intensity that may result in participants burning up to 1,000 calories per workout, including calories that may burn even after the workout ends (results may vary).

Intense? Yes, but don’t let that word scare you away.

HIIT helps burn more calories in a shorter amount of time and if you manage to stay within the “fat-burning” zone during your workout, it can leave the body burning more calories even after the workout is over. This special “fat-burning” zone varies from individual to individual, so it’s important to know your resting heartrate and your max heartrate in order to gauge your different zones.

Different Zones?

This is where MYZONE comes into play. A heart rate monitor that takes your workout to the next level.

MYZONE uses wireless and cloud technology to accurately and conveniently monitor physical activity. It monitors heart rate, calories and time exercising that converts into MYZONE Effort Points (MEPs*), with a focus on rewarding effort.

Heart rate training zones are a range of values expressed as percentages of maximum heart rate (HR max). The HIIT by LAF workout incorporates 5 heart rate training zones. If you’re interested in signing up for HIIT by LAF® classes on a regular basis, the MYZONE heart rate monitor is available for purchase at an additional cost.

Each zone is identified by zone color, heart rate percentage range, zone description, and the target amount of time that should be maintained in each zone to achieve the greatest benefits of a HIIT workout. Utilizing these zones in relation to the exercise benefits of each one aids in the development of the best programming to maximize endurance, calorie burn, and fat loss.

* MEPs (MYZONE Effort Points) are earned based on the effort exerted by the participant. Time spent in each Heart Rate Zone earns different numbers of MEPS:

  • Grey = 50-59% – Earns 1 MEP/minute
  • Blue = 60-69% – Earns 2 MEPS/minute
  • Green = 70-79% – Earns 3 MEPs/minute
  • Yellow = 80-89% – Earns 4 MEPs/minute
  • Red = 90-100% – Earns 4 MEPs/minute

Who is HIIT for?

HIIT is for anyone and everyone looking to take their fitness to the next level. HIIT is for moms, runners, professionals, athletes, and beginners. For moms, it’s a great escape. For runners, it’s the motivation and methodology necessary to prepare for the next run or race. For professionals, it’s the time-efficient workout when health and well-being are important, but time is tight. For athletes, it is the real-time feedback, ability to track progress and interval training necessary to improve performance. For beginners, it’s the push—the education and encouragement—necessary to reach an entirely new level of fitness.

Is HIIT Safe?

It depends on the underlying condition of the patient/client and their baseline fitness level or physical activity status. HIIT is not for someone with a prior heart condition, who is sedentary and has not gone through proper supervised exercise testing first.

Anyone who has been very active has no cardiac risk factors, and has been screened by his M.D. about his cardiovascular fitness can definitely try HIIT and enjoy the benefits in our time-crunched environment.

The response above provided by Dr. Myla Subbarao, MD, FACC, and volunteer with the American Heart Association.

Check out our Living Healthy podcast episode on HIIT training by clicking here!

If you’re interested in learning more about HIIT by LAF®, visit welcome.lafitness.com/hiit-by-laf/.


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