Health Tip #2: Walking Reduces your Risk of Stroke

Congratulations! You have reached the second milestone on the Ascend Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge.

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A stroke occurs when blood and oxygen are cut off from the brain. It can cause serious long-term disability and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

There are several things you can do to reduce your chance of stroke including a healthy diet, controlling your blood pressure and exercising.

And exercise, in the form of walking, has been proven to reduce the risk of stroke significantly.

A Harvard study of nearly 40,000 women over a 12-year period, tracked the participants’ physical activity, such as walking, running, swimming and dancing. The study found that those who walked two or more hours a week were less likely to have a stroke, as compared to the other recorded activities. The study also found that women who walked at a brisk pace had a 37 percent lower risk when compared to women who did not walk for exercise.

Another study by Harvard of 11,000 men reported that one hour of brisk walking five times a week lowered a man’s risk of stroke by half.

To determine if you are walking at a brisk rate, take the “talk test.” When walking briskly, you should be able to talk, but not sing. If you are out of breath and cannot carry on a conversation,, you are probably walking too fast and should slow down.

Know the Signs of Stroke

The National Stroke Association developed the F.A.S.T. test to help identify the signs of stoke so you know when to call 9-1-1. Treatment is available but it must be given as soon as symptoms appear, so quick action required:

F = FACE Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A = ARMS Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T = TIME If you observe any of these signs (independently or together), call 9-1-1 immediately.

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Health Tip #1 Attacking Cholesterol through Diet and Exercise

Congratulations! You have reached the first milestone on the Ascend Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge.

Go back to your home page or continue reading your Heart Health Tip.

Haagen Dazs Fat Free Frozen YogurtPotato chips, burgers, ice cream or butter drenched baked potatoes. If you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, these are some of the many foods you may want to avoid or reduce your intake.

If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, you are not alone. According to the American Heart Association, 107 million, or 1 in 5 adults, has cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dL. A level above 200 is borderline high and extreme levels, those above 240, are at risk for heart disease. The association recommends no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day. And if you already have high cholesterol, they recommend staying below 200 mg.

LDL cholesterol (think L for LOUSY cholesterol) clogs vessels while HDL (think H for HEALTHY) helps remove plaque from your blood stream.

A low cholesterol diet and exercise is one way to reduce your levels. Research shows that losing 10 pounds can reduce LDL cholesterol by 5 to 8 percent and regular exercise increases HDL cholesterol.

There are a lot of foods one should limit when trying to lower cholesterol intake, but what foods should you eat? Actually, the following foods can help improve your cholesterol numbers.

  • Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods
  • Fish and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Walnuts, almonds and other nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Foods with added plant sterols or stanols, such as beta-sitosterol and -sitostanol (typically found in margarine spreads such as Promise activ or Benecol)

Also, there are tasty alternatives to foods you love, so …

  • Instead of potato chips (which have 10.6g of total fat, 3.1g of sat. fat)
    try Multigrain SunChips (5.9 total fat, 1 g sat. fat)
  • Instead of a broiled ground beef burger (20.1g total fat, 7.6g sat. fat, 1.4 g trans fat)
    try a veggie burger like Morningstar Farms(3.5g total fat, 0.5g sat. fat, 0g trans fat)
  • Instead of Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream (14g total fat, 8g sat. fat, cholesterol 75 mg)
    try Ben & Jerry’s hard fat-free frozen yogurt (0g total fat, 0g sat. fat, cholesterol 15 mg).
  • Instead of a pat of butter (2.3g total fat, 1.4g sat. fat, 6mg cholesterol)
    try some fat free yogurt which has practically no fat or cholesterol.
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