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Friday, February 14, 2014

Love your heart? Let it know!

Lack of activity is a common factor for the roots of heart disease. Many Americans are too busy exercising their minds all day on the job, but seldom get enough physical activity to get the heart pumping as it should.  A healthy exercise regimen can do a lot of things for your heart, such as: -Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system
-Improve your circulation and help your body use oxygen better
-Improve your heart failure symptoms
-Increase energy levels so you can do more activities without becoming tired or short of breath
-Lower blood pressure
-Help reduce body fat and help you reach a healthy weight

Many people find that they have the desire to improve their health with exercise, but don't know where to begin.  Should I join a gym? Should I use work out DVDs? Should I hire a personal trainer?  Before you consider these things, you should talk to your doctor and get recommendations of what would work best for you on a personal level based on your medical history.  New medications can affect your response to exercise and you should talk with your doctor regarding working with weight or intense cardio activities such as jogging. If you are the type of person that needs a group setting to get motivated, you should consider joining a gym.  Before you commit, shop local fitness centers to see if any offer free trials. If you have a friend that is already a member of a gym, you may be able to go along with your friend as a guest.  If you don't need the motivation of a group, you can always exercise at home.  Starting a personal exercise routine at home is always the best way to find what suits you, but when a professional trainer is not present you can make mistakes so be sure to research your routine thoroughly before beginning.  

Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is a form of activity that increases your respiratory and heart rate, essentially challenging your heart to work harder and become stronger. Cardiovascular fitness will improve the way your body uses oxygen. As your heart becomes stronger, you will find that you aren't winded walking up the stairs, you can perform physical activity longer, and your resting heart rate will be lower, meaning your heart is more efficient at pumping blood through your body. Strengthening-repeated muscle contractions until the muscle becomes tired - should be avoided by people with heart failure. Stretching the arms and legs before and after exercising helps prepare the muscles for activity and helps prevent injury and muscle strain. Regular stretching also increases your range of motion and flexibility.

To achieve maximum benefits, you should gradually work up to an aerobic session lasting 20 to 30 minutes, at least three times a week. Exercising every day or every other day will help you keep a regular aerobic exercise schedule. Every exercise session should include a warm-up, a conditioning phase, and a cool-down. A warm-up reduces the stress on your heart and muscles and slowly increases your breathing, heart rate and body temperature. During the conditioning phase, the benefits of exercise are gained and calories are burned. If you experience chest pain, significant breathlessness, or dizziness, you should stop exercising and let your doctor know about your symptoms. Cooling down allows your body to gradually recover from the conditioning phase by allowing your heart rate and blood pressure to return to near resting values.  Cool-down does not mean sit down. Do not sit, stand still or lie down right after exercise as it may cause you to feel dizzy or lightheaded or have heart palpitations.  The best way to cool-down is to slowly decrease the intensity of your activity.

Though any aerobic exercise is good for your heart, here are four simple exercises you can do to get you on your way to a healthier heart:

Brisk Walking: Whether you rack up the miles on a treadmill or hit the road, brisk walking is a natural way to improve your fitness. Though a leisure stroll is better than sitting on your couch, push yourself to walk at a fast pace to achieve a moderate intensity level.

Running: If you are a beginner to running, start out with a brisk walk and add 1 to 2 minutes of running every 5 minutes of walking. As you get more fit, you can increase the minutes you run until you don't need to walk in between.

Swimming: Swimming laps or even participating in water fitness classes will not only raise your heart rate and improve your heart health, the water provides multi-directional resistance that will improve your muscular strength and tone. Swimming is a safe alternative if you have joint problems that walking or running can aggravate.

Cycling: Cycling is a low-impact exercise that you can do solo in the gym, in a spin class, or outside on the road or trails. Make efficient use of your cycling time and bike to work or to do your errands. While your heart is pumping you'll also be building strength and toning your lower body as well as your core muscles.

If doing a solid stint of aerobic exercise bores you,  you can mix up your cardio. For example, for every 3 minutes of cardio, do 1 strength training exercise or a high-intensity burst of cardio for 1 minute. This type of training will not only keep you motivated to exercise, it will improve your muscular strength, endurance and heart health.

You don’t need to be an athlete or exercise fanatic to boost your heart health. Moderate exercise can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses as well as improve your endurance, strength and flexibility. Any amount and type of physical activity is beneficial for your overall health.  We encourage you to add exercise to your daily routine after consulting your physician for detailed advice based on your history.  This month SouthGroup Insurance Gulf Coast embraces our love of health and particularly our heart, and we wish you all a very healthy and happy Valentine's Day.

Your Trusted Choice Insurance Agent stands ready to assist you. We help you through the maze of insurance coverages, carriers, and premiums, and we find the best personal and business coverage for you at affordable rates. We help you save money on insurance --- and we save you time!  And remember, when it comes to insurance, one size does not fit all.

We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast / ,
SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Wendy Johnson, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Susan Monti, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Michael Reso and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email: , phone:228-466-4498, fax:888-415-8922,  FaceBook, or Twitter !

We have 3 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi, 5400 Indian Hill-Diamondhead, and 412 Hwy 90 Ste 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states.
Thanks to Susan Monti for her words of wisdom!

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