February is Healthy Heart month. Many reputable guidelines are easily available to assist in maintaining cardiovascular health. See below for some links. This article will focus on gently busting a couple of myths.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “There is no lower limit to the benefits of physical activity in reducing cardiovascular disease risk.”
What does this mean for us? Essentially, this means that even a bit of physical activity is better than none at all. It will provide health benefits. More is better, of course, but greater levels of activity can be slowly worked up to as every movement and activity counts toward improved health.
Thus, the admonition to exercise 150 minutes per week is more of a longer-term goal. This depends upon your own physical condition. That much exercise may not be healthy for all persons. Please, consult your healthcare provider.
On the other hand, exercising much more than 300 minutes per week doesn’t seem to offer increased benefits either. Don’t feel guilty if you simply can’t get beyond that 150 minutes. Seems that we reach a certain level of health and fitness through activity/exercise, then we top out.
Along the same lines, please know that taking 10,000 steps per day to achieve health is not based on scientific evidence. It’s an arbitrary number. And that, naturally, means that we can feel good about taking as many steps as we can manage, preferably each day. Gradually increasing what you can do is still a good thing.
You might ask: Why move at all? Some newer science supports the findings that sitting most of the time can lead to certain diseases and even some cancers. The reason is not yet known.
All of our lives, many of us have been warned about eating all fats. All fats were indicted and found guilty by our health providers as being deeply implicated in cardiovascular (CV) disease.
Well, apparently that was a big error. Some say more than an error. It seems sugar was the culprit all along. I would not be surprised if this kind of switcheroo prevents many from taking medicine’s word for what is healthy and what is not.
One of the links below addresses this directly. Monounsaturated fats are even considered healthy to some extent but beware of complex carbohydrates.
Once digested, all carbohydrates reduce to glucose. Simple carbohydrates raise the insulin level causing diabetes and obesity in non-diabetics. Even refined complex carbohydrates, like white rice, cause this insulin effect. The quality of carbohydrates impacts their healthiness. The Glycemic Index is your evidence-based guide.
When we feel like we have failed, we become discouraged and often give up. Hence, knowing what is real and what is myth can be useful.
Nothing in this article is meant to be medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider.
Some information above is taken from:
Callie Wight is a California state-licensed registered nurse with a Master of Arts in psychology.