Tag: diabetes

American Heart Month

The month of February is synonymous for the heart driven holiday of love, this month is also American Heart month. In honor of this observance, it’s important to find out if you and your family members are at risk for this preventable disease.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD)—including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure—is the number 1 killer of women and men in the United States. It is a leading cause of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities. Although health disparities based on geography, race, ethnicity, gender, age, or genetics cannot be altered, lifestyle changes are the easiest way to gain control of your health and avoid potential risk factors.

You have heard it many times, eat your veggies and exercise to keep your heart strong and happy, diet is a big player in Cardio vascular disease prevention. A balanced diet of nutrient rich foods can have the biggest impact on your heart. Adults should have at least 5 servings a day of fruits and veggies, eat foods low in trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and increase high fiber foods. Physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight and control blood pressure. Be sure to include varied physical activity such as cardio, strength training, and flexibility modalities at minimum 150 minutes a week into your lifestyle.

Smoking and/or alcohol consumption combined can lead to higher chances; moderation or cessation is key. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes harm the heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of atherosclerosis (artery narrowing)—even if you smoke only once in a while. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than two drinks per day, and women to no more than one.

Diabetes has recently been added to the list of factors according to the National Diabetes Clearing House, “If you have diabetes you are twice as likely as someone who doesn’t for the disease.” Over time, high blood glucose levels (blood sugar) can increase the deposits of fatty materials in artery and blood vessel walls, increasing the chances for artery narrowing and hardening (atherosclerosis). Scientists have discovered that all cholesterol is not the same, aim to get your cholesterol levels checked at least once every 5 hrs. The so called “good” cholesterol –HDL- is actually protective against heart disease, it can help reduce inflammation, which contributes to heart health. HDL lower than 40 mg/dl increases your risk of heart disease, while HDL above 60 mg/dl may offer protection against heart disease.

As you begin your journey keep a few things in mind to keep you on track; Partner up, the journey is more fun. Don’t get discouraged, you will create unnecessary stress on your heart, and try not to get overwhelmed with vast information, the smallest steps are the most important.

Just How Important is Exercise for Western Society?

Recently I reviewed the National Center for Health Statistics data on the major causes of death in Western society. It was not surprising to find 4 of the top 7 were indications of chronic lifestyle-related conditions; heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes among the top 7 listed.  It is interesting to note, only 100 years ago, the leading causes of death were primarily infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, diarrhea, liver disease. As improvements in medicine and health care advanced, the incidence of the diseases reduced, only to be replaced by the choice of unhealthy lifestyles.

I bring this up because the majority of the unhealthy lifestyle related causes are preventable. According to The Healthy People 2010 review, physical activity or exercise, nutrition and stress management are considered the priority to optimal health and wellness and primary changes for longevity.  Data collected in the Healthy People review suggest that modest changes in physical activity  patterns and nutrition can prevent more than 400, 000 death annually! Modest changes in physical activity and increases in exercise are a small price to pay for illness prevention and premature causes of death.  Keep yourself healthy and well by continuing to incorporate exercise as part of your lifestyle.


For tips or more information on how to make changes to your exercise routine, please feel free to contact Kendra Kainz.

How to Workout with Medical Issues… Diabetes

One of the most frequent things I see at the gym is people working out without eating breakfast or food before they start their gym routine. Your body only has so much energy floating around in it that it can quickly utilize for movement (about 30 min). After that it has to start to pull from stores in you muscle and kidneys. This is usually when I will see my clients start to turn pail, have super low energy and become dizzy. Their body is trying to pull enough stored energy for quick utilization; but there is a little bit of a time lapse where you are running on empty. This is much like what happens to someone who has Diabetes and is referred to as Hypoglycemia. The easiest remedy would be to get some kind of sugar in the body; I have found that orange juice or just fruit works wonders for the “bonking” that happens during exercise on an empty stomach or if you are a diabetic.

Warning signs of hypoglycemia are:

  • Mild Symptoms: Trembling or shakiness, nervousness, rapid heart rate, palpitations, increased sweating, excessive hunger
  • Moderate Symptoms: headache, irritability and abrupt mood changes, impaired concentration and attentiveness, mental confusion, drowsiness
  • Severe Symptoms: unresponsiveness, unconsciousness, convulsions

Insulin’s normal response to meals would include an increase in blood glucose, causing an increase in insulin. Insulin is transported throughout the body and causes the body to enhance its glucose uptake and utilization. A defect anywhere along this pathway for glucose uptake signals diabetes. During exercise low levels of glucose are the main problem to deal with during prolonged intense exercise where the liver does not release enough glucose to match the need of the working muscle.

Benefits of exercise on Diabetes:

  • It increases insulin sensitivity, causing a long term improvement in glycemic control (meaning your body needs less insulin to clear the glucose).
  • Decreased Cardiovascular disease risk factors
  • Weight loss and reduced body fat
  • Better psyche
  • Reduced occurrence of Type II diabetes

How to exercise to get the best benefits:

  • Try for 170 min of weekly exercise
  • Combine weights and cardio to your daily routine
  • Combine diet and regular exercise
  • Exercise must be maintained to keep results

Exercise is a must for anyone, but especially those with diabetes; you can increase your quality of life and make diabetes more manageable. Every day will be different with exercising and your energy levels so you will need to watch how your body reacts to exercise; especially 30 minuntes into it. Remember to eat for exercise and to have some quick energy on hand in case your body needs a little more to finish up the workout.

If these benefits seam like something that interest you and you would like to be taught by one of the Seattle Athletic Club’s highly educated fitness staff please contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

How to Workout with Medical Issues… Cardiovascular Disease

Nearly one in four Americans experiencing some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in their lifetime; with hypertension being the largest risk factor for CV. Thus it makes sense for us to take a look at hypertension and CVD and how to treat both through exercise.

Normal blood pressure is <130 mmHg Systolic and <90 mmHg Diastolic; and hypertension starts above 140 mmHg for Systolic and 90 mmHg for Diastolic. Regular exercise is believed to be the first line of defense to treat mild to moderate hypertension. Regardless of age, aerobic exercise in previously sedentary men and women decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 6 to 10 mmHg; and results can be seen as quickly as 4 weeks of exercise. For people who stopped exercising, blood pressure returned to hypertensive states within a month. Resistance training will create a large increase in blood pressure while training, but will not result in an elevated resting blood pressure; some resistance training regiments have been show to lower resting blood pressure. The benefits of exercise for people with cardiovascular disease are:

  • Prevention of stroke
  • Regression of the hardening of your arteries
  • Prevention of heart disease
  • Decreased hypertension

The goal of an exercise regime for some with CVD is to improve one’s functional capacity, making everyday activity easier and more manageable. By getting on an exercise routine people can reduce the work that the heart has to do for any external exercise load; this is usually seen with a reduced heart rate & reduced blood pressure.

What should a cardiovascular workout look like for someone with CVD?

  • Frequency At least 3-5 times a week
  • Intensity 40-65% heart rate max or RPE 10 to 13 (out of 20)
  • Type Rhythmic large muscle groups that stimulate breathing
  • Time 20-30 continuous min per session
  • Progression May be cyclical with periods of regression depending on treatments

What should a weight workout look like for someone with CVD?

  • Frequency 2 nonconsecutive times a week
  • Intensity Low weights, 10-15 reps to moderate fatigue
  • Type Rhythmic large muscle groups that stimulate breathing (no isometric exercises)
  • Duration 1 set for each exercise, prevent carry over fatigue

If you have a family history of CVD or you presently have CVD you should be thinking about adding some light cardiovascular training to help stabilize your circulatory system and gradually try to increase duration and then intensity. Adding some weight work will also help get your body to a better functional condition, allowing you to enjoy your day and loved ones even more! If you have questions about how to exercise with cardiovascular disease please feel free to contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

The Real Cost of Not Exercising

With the current financial epidemic our country is facing, it seems practical that we go through our bank statements and cut back on any extra spending. But, should your gym membership be one of them? Many publications have been suggesting that the gym is one luxury that you can do without. Although, canceling your membership may seem to save you money, it will cost more than you can afford in the long run and not only in terms of your bank account.

On the surface, an “at-home” routine may appear like a good idea. Before you make the leap, you need to consider the complete ramifications of your actions. After all, a gym environment has a lot to offer. The gym offers structure, and the motivation you get from working out in a group. Exercising with and around others can greatly improve your exercise adherence. Accountability comes from your trainers, friends, and peers, and they often push you during your workout as well. Your home workout will inevitably become less of a priority since you “can do it at any time”. We all know this leads to one place: procrastination. The gym also provides a great deal of equipment that will not be available to you at home. Attempting to replicate your routine outside the gym will leave you without the motivation, community, and the expertise provided by a professional exercise facility.

There is a cost associated with not exercising! Physical activity is necessary for life’s everyday functions, as well as stimulating the body’s own natural maintenance and repair system. By not exercising you increase your risk for many health issues. Research shows individuals who are physically active have substantially lower cancer rates, have fewer heart attacks, are less likely to develop diabetes, have healthier blood pressure levels, lessened risk of stroke, and overall are generally healthier. A variety of studies have shown that exercise combats low energy, stress, and depression and those who participate are more optimistic, sleep better, have stronger bones, and are less likely to be overweight or even catch a cold or the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), inactive adults have considerably higher direct medical costs than active adults, and the costs associated with physical inactivity increase with age. If you take into consideration the costs of maintaining your health without the help of exercise, you are factoring in increased health insurance costs, food costs, pharmaceuticals, and visits to the doctor. The costs of exercising are unmistakable: exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body can save not only your life, but your money as well.

So, even though your gym membership may cost you every month, think about the savings your membership is actually providing you. If cutting back expenses is what you are attempting, try cutting back on your morning coffee or save by packing your lunch regularly rather than buying. Most importantly, cut back on the things that will not short-change you in the long run. You cannot put a price on your health and personal well-being.