Does Love Really Affect the Heart?

Does Love Really Affect the Heart?

Ah, love. Is there anything more freeing than the feeling of being completely, utterly, and hopelessly in love? When suddenly, the world seems calmer, colors seem brighter, and you just can’t hide the smile that stays stuck to your face. True love is pretty wonderful because it makes us the best version of ourselves – and often, the best version of ourselves makes others want to be the best version of themselves. It’s an ooey-gooey cheesy feeling that is truly amazing.

Reflecting upon how good love makes us feel inside, we reached out to American Heart Association volunteer John A. Osborne, MD, PhD, the director of Preventive Cardiology at State of The Heart Cardiology in Dallas, TX to understand if these feel-good feelings actually affect the heart.

Dr. Osborne, is this true, does love really have an effect on the heart?

Absolutely!  As anyone who has ever been in love (or read about it) knows!  It not only makes one’s heart “pitter-patter” and makes us feel wondrous, it may actually be good for your heart health!  When you are in love (and feel loved), one’s blood pressure responds to that peace and calm and may translate to lower blood pressure.  High Blood Pressure is the most common form of cardiovascular disease and affects about one-half of US adults.  If this “silent killer” is not identified, treated, and controlled, it could take between 5 to 7 years off the average lifespan!  In fact, those who are married or in long -term supportive relationships live longer and have better recoveries if they do encounter heart problems.  Patients who have a good social support system had better recoveries and survival rates after bypass surgery than those who did not.  This survival benefit also extends to our four-legged friends as well!  Don’t forget about them on Valentine’s Day either!

What about the opposite – can you really die of a broken heart?

The short answer is yes!  Only in the 1980s was this described in the medical literature, although for centuries that concept of “dying from a broken heart” has been well described in literature, operas, plays, and, most recently, movies!  It is called “Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy” and is more common in women and looks like a typical heart attack, but in this case, there are no blockages in the blood vessels unlike how the vast majority of heart attacks occur.  It is felt that a sudden, massive release of catecholamines (the stress hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and other stress hormones) can cause severe vasoconstriction of the blood vessels to the heart and cause a heart attack, heart damage, heart failure, and even sudden death!   Fortunately, if diagnosed properly and with appropriate medical care, the damage can be prevented, and our heart can heal itself with time and medications.

What are some ways you can make your heart feel happier and stronger?

A good diet (the Mediterranean Diet was voted, yet again, the best overall diet in 2019) and regular exercise along with a no tobacco lifestyle are the foundations for excellent cardiovascular and all-around health.  A small amount of dark chocolate – with its blood pressure lowering anti-oxidants, flavonols, and catechins, and best of all shared with your loved one(s) – can’t hurt!  The AHA has a great app to help with this called “My Cardiac Coach” that is available for your smartphone and large number of resources on the web at www.heart.org.

Responses above provided by American Heart Association volunteer, John A. Osborne, MD, Ph.D., the director of Preventive Cardiology at State of The Heart Cardiology in Dallas, TX. 


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Life with ALS – Podcast Ep. 17

Life with ALS – Podcast Ep. 17


Welcome to the 17th episode of the Living Healthy podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of Living Healthy, we speak with Lynne Nieto, wife of Augie Nieto, and co-founder of Augie’s Quest. Their mission is to find a cure for ALS. Lynne educates us on what ALS is, who it affects, and how you can help find a cure for this debilitating disease.

Text AUGIE to 44-321 to help show your support for this great cause. 

Let us know how we’re doing by tweeting us @LAFitness using the hashtag #LivingHealthyPodcast or send us an email at blog@fitnessintl.com.

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 – Live with ALS – Podcast Ep. 17

Introduction

0:01

Lynne Nieto, of Augie’s Quest, Joins the Show

Begins at 1:12

What is ALS?

Begins at 1:28

Who Does ALS Affect?

Begins at 2:22

Who is Augie Nieto? What is Augie’s Quest?

Begins at 3:45

Augie and the Fitness Industry

Begins 4:33

Life Before the Diagnosis vs. After the Diagnosis

Begins at 5:44

About the ALS Therapy Development Institute

Begins at 6:17

How Does ALS Affect People Differently?

Begins at 7:05

How Does ALS Affect Families?

Begins at 8:37

The AT-1501 Drug

Begins at 10:32

How Does Humor Help?

Begins at 11:32

Intimacy and ALS

Begins at 13:11

How You Can Get Involved

Begins at 14:10

Actionable Advice

Begins at 14:43

Outro

Begins at 15:53


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Our 12 Month Guide to Keeping Your Resolutions This Year! 

Our 12 Month Guide to Keeping Your Resolutions This Year! 

JANUARY 

Make a plan – You’re more likely to get things done if you know how, when, and where you’ll do them. Just saying you’ll do something isn’t enough. Identify the days, times and location of the activity. Make a contingency plan for when you’re short on time or money. 

FEBRUARY 

Go back to basics – Rely on the tried-and-true changes that make for success. Use what’s worked in the past rather than reinventing the wheel. Ask experts and professionals for their advice and read up on how most people accomplished the same goal. 

MARCH 

Make a list – Write out all the benefits to accomplishing your goal. Focus on the “pros” instead of the “cons.” Use these to push you when you don’t feel up to the taskKnowing what you’ll get out of it helps draw you to action. 

APRIL 

Track your progress – Log, chart or graph to keep the quantitative (intake, reps, weight, etc.) measures of your journey visual. Reference it daily as motivation and a reminder of your achievements. Remember that most advancements aren’t linear, so look at overall progress. 

MAY 

Get happy – Focus on the positive by identifying a small accomplishment each day. Believing in yourself may be the most important factor to success.* Recognizing small feats can give you the drive to accomplish larger ones. 

JUNE 

Recommit yourself – Pick yourself back up after a fall. Not everything goes according to plan (sigh). Having the resilience to get back to routine after a misstep is more important than not making any mistakes to begin with. 

JULY 

Avoid temptations  Be sure you’re not in a situation that could lead you astray. Ahem, not next to the buffet or on a comfy sofa. Choose environments in line with your goals so you can avoid the “Should I or shouldn’t I?” internal battle.  

AUGUST 

Reward yourself – When you hit a milestone, celebrate! (But not with something that will lead you to go in reverse 😊) Give yourself a pat on the back and something tangible, too. Perhaps make smaller weekly goals for a small pay-out, such as a magazine or video game. 

SEPTEMBER 

Reflect on your journey – How great did it feel to overcome the last challenge? Look at how far you’ve improved since starting. Like autumn, you are in a season of change that doesn’t happen all at once. Enjoy each step along your path. 

OCTOBER 

Call on friends for support – There is truly strength in numbers! Enlist a workout buddy or lunch pal to keep you on track. Even the verbal support of those close to you who aren’t physically nearby can lift you up and spur you to continue onward. 

NOVEMBER 

Try something new – Now is the time to break up your routine and keep things interesting. Let your curiosity get the better of you. Attempt a new class, sample a different product, taste a new cuisine or give an innovative method a shot, providing it’s in line with your goals. 

DECEMBER 

Remember why you started – Bring those reasons to the forefront of your priorities. Think of this month as the last sprint to the finish line! If you’re behind don’t throw in the towel but double-down on your efforts to surge ahead. 

Resource: 

  1. “How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions: Research explains what works best.” The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Learning. Psychology Today. Dec. 26, 2017. Accessed Dec. 10, 2018. 

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Exercising During Cold and Flu Season

Exercising During Cold and Flu Season

We are in the midst of cold and flu season. Have you taken the precautionary measures to avoid headaches and runny noses looming in every office building, school classroom and store this season?

We spoke with Chris McGilmer, MD, a sports and family medicine specialist at the Kaiser Permanente North Hollywood Medical Offices, who gave his expert advice on how to best protect the immune system this season and whether or not it’s okay to work out when sick.

This is what he shared:

How does exercise support our immune health?

Exercise, along with other healthy habits, can help strengthen our immune system. A healthy immune system protects us from infection and disease, including the viruses that cause colds and flu.

Some research has found that people who exercise regularly are less prone to illness because they have a better immune system response. Plus, exercise can help us manage stress and reduce the release of stress-related hormones. This is important because stress can be detrimental to our immune function. Other studies have found that exercise can help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways – thus reducing our risk of respiratory illness – and that exercise can boost our number of infection-fighting white blood cells.

Is it okay to work out when you’re sick? When is it safe to exercise?

Exercise is recommended as long as your illness is mild and feel well enough to work out. For example, most people who have a common cold or mild upper respiratory symptoms, like a stuffed or runny nose, are generally able to work out. You’ll very likely have to lower the intensity and you’ll definitely need to monitor your heart rate and breathing. Certain decongestants and cold medications can increase the heart rate. Although some individuals with asthma and other chronic respiratory health conditions can exercise without any issues, it’s best that they reach out to their doctor to see if they can continue being physically active while they are sick.

Please keep in mind that overexertion can make you feel worse and slow down your recovery.

When are you too sick to work out? When is exercise not recommended?

If you’re experiencing a fever of 101.5 degrees or more, body aches, congestion, gastrointestinal issues, or feeling weakness, please wait a few days before working out. Also, drink plenty of fluids while you’re recovering to avoid dehydration both while you’re sick and when you return to your fitness regimen.

When is it okay to return to your exercise routine?

Typically, it’s okay to return to your exercise routine 48 hours after a fever has broken or diarrhea or vomiting has stopped. Your best gauge is your overall well-being. If you feel good, great. If your body is telling you to take another day off, listen to it!

 

Can you really sweat out a cold?

No. Sweating methods, such as a sauna or steam room, inhaling warm steam and exercise can provide temporary relief by relieving nasal congestion and loosening up mucus, but they will not shorten your recovery time. It normally takes seven to 10 days to fully recover from a common cold. If you choose to incorporate a “sweat out method” as part of your treatment plan, drink plenty of fluids and be on the lookout for possible signs of dehydration. When you sweat, you not only release water; you also release electrolytes.

 

Prevention Tips
  1. Get an annual flu shot. This is your best line of defense.
  2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Our immune system needs a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals to function well.
  3. Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep has been linked to a weakened immune system.
  4. Wash your hands constantly. A 20-second wash with soap and warm water is the best, but if water isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  5. Avoid touching your face. The most common way germs get into the body is via the face.
  6. Manage your stress levels. Chronic stress can increase your risk of illness.
  7. Avoid overtraining and exerting your body. Listen to your body and give it time to recover.
  8. If you exercise in a gym or fitness club, sanitize the equipment before and after your workout to minimize the spread of germs.

Content contributed by Chris McGilmer, MD, a sports and family medicine specialist at the Kaiser Permanente North Hollywood Medical Offices. 


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LA Fitness NAMI Walk 2018 Recap

LA Fitness NAMI Walk 2018 Recap

On Saturday, September 29th, 2018, LA Fitness participated with NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) and attended their walk at Angel Stadium in recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). What started off as a small idea turned in to a larger campaign which hoped to bring focus and attention to an often-unspoken topic: mental illness.

The fitness industry does an outstanding job of promoting the benefits of physical activity for a healthier body, but exercise provides many additional benefits for a healthier mind.

Health and wellness can be thought of as the trifecta of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. A balanced life of healthy eating, sleeping, exercise and time spent doing the things you love with those you love can all lead to a happier self – and who doesn’t want to be happy?

On the day of the event, thousands of people showed up from various organizations to show their support for a great cause. The air was filled with an electric sense of positivity and hope that absolutely radiated in smiles and kind words of fellow walkers.

And for animal lovers out there, there was also a pet costume contest that took place before the walk, meaning there was no shortage of cute dogs to pet and ogle at during the event.

Participants held up signs with various sayings such as “Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others!” and “We walk, so people will talk”, promoting NAMI’s campaign slogan #CureStigma.

In honor of MIAW, the LA Fitness Living Healthy Podcast published a special episode which featured Neel Doshi, DO, a psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente Orange County. He helped us better understand the impact exercise can have when added to a treatment plan. If you’re one of the many who deal with anxiety or depression symptoms, you may want to give the episode a listen.

(Listen to it, here!)

Whatever you may be going through may feel overwhelming, but with the proper support group, your journey can feel a lot less lonely.

Try out an LA Fitness today.

It’s been such a positive experience to hear from many different people about their relatable struggles with mental illness. It really means a lot to talk about it and remove some of the stigma.

Penny S.

I really enjoyed sharing the walk with my wife and son. It was a great event and the turn out proved that we are chipping away at the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Andrew G.

To see so many people come out to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness was both touching and inspiring. I was so proud to rally behind such a strong force and share such empowerment with my son.

Elaine G.


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