Archive for June, 2015

Fitness and Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, alias hypertension, is a leading killer. It has no respect for sex, occupation, social status or religion. Cardiovascular diseases account for approximately 50 percent of deaths in this country.

Not only is hypertension one of the leading cardiovascular illnesses, but it is an ancillary hazard of many other illnesses.

People suffering from obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and a long list of other illnesses are susceptible to high blood pressureand to its complications.

High blood Pressure and Fitness

What is High Blood Pressure

What is High Blood Pressure

Although no precise blood pressure reading demarcates normal from high, North American adults at rest may be in for trouble if their blood pressure is consistently higher than 140/90.

Not so with “low blood pressure.” In fact, statistically speaking, persons with “low blood pressure” have a greater life expectancy.

“Low blood pressure” is truly “low” when a person is gravely ill and in shockdue to haemorrhage, severe coronary attack, terminal disease, or serious injury. Many normal people have normally low blood pressure readings.

When a physician “reads” blood pressure by means of his “blood pressure cuff” and stethoscope, he arrives at two figures systole (high) and diastole (low).

Thus a normal reading might be 130/80. This indicates that the pressure in the blood vessels is 130 mm. of mercury during the squeezing forward action of blood along the arteries when the heart contracts.

When the heart relaxes and while it is being filled before the next contraction or heartbeat, diastole is said to occur. This relaxed state, or diastole, is 80 mm. of mercury in this case.

Blood pressure, whether normal or high, fluctuates widely during the day and is influenced by normal daily occurrences.

While these rises and dips are transient and almost without clinical significance, they are important as barometers to indicate the adequacy of an individual’s ability to weather the physical and emotional highs and lows which he experiences.

Effect Of Physical Exercise On Blood Pressure

In the untrained subject, a typical or average response of blood pressure during exercise is to riseperhaps reaching a maximum of 200/100 after two or three minutes. And this then might persist for the duration of the exertion.

This is an average change. It signifies a rise in both systole and diastole, but a greater net difference (by subtraction) between the two. This greater net difference indicates that a greater blood flow is being channelled across the muscles, since a larger pressure gradient is being observed.

An increased need for nutrient to the muscles with an increased need to remove unneeded residues of burnt fuels from the muscles makes this seem logical.

The athlete is much more efficient. His blood pressure too increases during exerciseand to about the same “readings”for two to three minutes. Then his diastolic pressure tends to drop precipitously, perhaps to a final combined “reading” of 200/10.

The pressure gradient between systole and diastole is now greatly increased, making for more efficient perfusion of his muscle mass.

An athlete thus does not contract his heart more vigorously (systole), but has educated his heart and arteries to relax more completely (diastole). Exercise has long been known to have a beneficial effect on blood pressure.

The flexibility of the blood vessels during exercise is maximal (high systole and low diastole), with a decreased tendency obviously to “hardening of the arteries.”

The Effect Of Age On Blood Pressure

Although high blood pressure begins at readings over 140/90, this applies only to North American adults. Normal infants have blood pressures of approximately 75/40.

During childhood and adolescence blood pressure gradually rises and it is not until late teens and early twenties that 140/90 becomes the upper limit of normal.

There is a time-honored adage that your blood pressure rises one point per year as you grow older. This is far from true. As the years go by there is a normal tendency toward “hardening of the arteries” (arteriosclerosis). In fact, early evidences of “hardening of the arteries” begin in the twenties and early thirties.

As the arteries become “hardened,” they necessarily lose their elasticity and flexibility.

When the heart contracts, the arteries are less able to “give” or stretch a little, resulting in greater pressure along this more rigid system.

Systolic blood pressure does therefore increase slightly with advancing age. Systole of 140 mm. of mercury at age thirty-five might well rise to 160 at age sixty-five.

But being “hardened,” the arteries are likewise unable to shrink down when the heart is relaxed, or during diastole. Having lost the ability to firm up during diastole, the pressure drops even further.

A normal diastole of 80 mm. of mercury at age thirty-five may become 70 at age sixty-five. Blood pressure is influenced by age. Systole rises slightly and diastole falls.

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Healing Power Tai Chi

It is likely that you have heard about Tai Chi but know very little information about it. This article is going to discuss what Tai Chi is and the benefits you can receive by practicing it regularly.

Tai Chi is the ancient Chinese system of exercise that strengthens the body and the energy within it.

The slow, flowing movements of Tai Chi help to relax the mind and body, while at the same time bringing you a sense of vitality and wellness.

Healing Power Tai Chi – Body and Mind

Daily practice of Tai Chi has a profound impact not only on the body but also the mind.

People who take part in Tai Chi for any length of time note an increase in self-confidence and thought clarity.

This is because Tai Chi increases the life energy within the body, bringing about clearer thoughts and actions that lead to more positive thinking and self-confidence.

Healing Power of Tai Chi

Healing Power of Tai Chi

Here are some of the benefits you can expect to receive with a daily practice of Tai Chi.

Increased strength of core muscles and ligaments. The Tai Chi form works to increase the strength and flexibility of muscles and ligaments by the slow shifting of from one side of the body to the other.

This tones muscles, tendons and ligaments while improving flexibility and strength throughout the whole body.

Deep relaxation. Tai Chi has the effect of inducing deep relaxation in the body. You may find yourself yawning and taking spontaneous deep breaths that release a great deal of physical tension during your practice. Not only does this feel great, it is also very beneficial. Less tension in the body conserves energy and provides a sense of well being and ease in your life.

Improves oxygen absorption. The ability to absorb more oxygen into the body has untold health benefits. Your brain works more efficiently, your heart and lungs become healthier, and energy is drastically increased.

Basically, a system wide rejuvenation occurs.

Oxygen is absolutely critical to a healthy life. Most of us go along with just enough oxygen in our system to continue living. Few people have excess amounts of oxygen within their system.

Having extra oxygen in the body is the key to vibrant health. It has even been discovered that cancer cells cannot survive in a highly oxygenated system.

This shows the far-reaching implications of your body’s oxygen content.

Improves coordination. Tai Chi is wonderful for making your mind and body more connected. The movements of Tai Chi help to make the body far more agile and coordinated.

This is of great benefit to anyone who feels disconnected to their body or is frequently clumsy.

Your reflexes will become sharper and quicker, helping you in all aspects of your life.

This is just a taste of what Tai Chi offers. Very few forms of exercise offer such striking health and wellness benefits. The daily practice of Tai Chi can take under twenty minutes a day and will improve every aspect of your life.

Try getting a beginner Tai Chi DVD to start learning the movements. You will feel a difference almost immediately. If you stick with your practice on a regular basis, your life will drastically soar in health.

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Canned Food, Sodium, and Serving Sizes

Today for lunch I brought a can of chili. Hormel Brand Stagg chili and I have to admit I love this stuff but there are a few shortcomings to say the least.

If you make homemade chili then you are in for a real treat. Chili is high in protein thanks to the beans and meat, has lots of vegetables for your vitamins and minerals, and the cayenne pepper that people put in chili to spice it up is very good for you as well.

Not so in a can.

Serving Sizes vs Can Size

stagg chiliBut the reason that started me on this bit of a rant is the fact that the nutritional information on the can list all the numbers for 247 grams of chili when in fact you can see by this picture that the can actually weighs in at 425 grams. You have to do some crazy math just to breakdown those nutritional information numbers.

Protein 425 gram can divided by 247 grams per serving times 15 grams of protein per serving equals 25.8 grams of protein per can.

So the protein in here is pretty good for a serving, a serving of course being one can of chili.

Trouble is that this happens in all the boxes, bags, and cans of food in the grocery store. Take a look next time, serving sizes are small always 8 chips, or 10 crackers, or in this case 2/3 or so of a can.

Sodium in Canned Foods

The second thing that drives me crazy is the sodium content. As a father of a kidney patient I can tell you what our nutritionist told us a couple of years ago.

Everybody should limit sodium. Sodium leads to hypertension, kidney problems, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and the average american diet includes about 3400 mg of sodium. Much more than the 2000 mg we should stay under

The numbers that we use at home which is what anyone should use in life is that you should have no more than 250 mg of sodium per snack and 500 mg sodium per meal.

So using these numbers lets do the crazy can math again

Sodium 425 gram can divided by 247 grams per serving times 750 mg of Sodium per serving equals 1290 mg of sodium per can. This is most of a days sodium all in one can. And it is not just them. Almost all canned products are very high in sodium.

Look on a can of even the “Healthy Soup” types in the grocery store. You will see that the sodium levels are really high.

Low Nutrient Levels in Canned Food

Finally, although it is really hard to check when you are looking at a nutrition label, the amount of nutrients in canned foods tends to be crappy. You get these overprocessed, overcooked veggies and all the preservatives that can kill nutrients. Although the Canned Food People say that freshly canned fruits and vegetables do not lose much of their nutrients.

Cans and plastic bottles are often lined with bisphenol A, or BPA, which has the ability to leech into the food. In large doses, BPA can act as the hormone estrogen and may be linked with an increased risk of some cancers.

You know what the much better option is? Frozen! Believe it or not frozen veggies and frozen fruit tend to be frozen very close to the picking time and the freezing does not affect the nutrients. This means that you get all of those great phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins without hanging around in the field to pick it.

My normal lunch, and I mean almost every single workday is leftovers from dinners that we make at home. We will cook dinner, make extra and package it up for me to take the next day or freeze for later. This I think is the best and cheapest option but of course, just like today, sometimes the plans just don’t work out.

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