Second in a series: Healthy holiday tips

6 tips to keep you on a healthy exercise routine this holiday season and beyond

healthy exercise blogDo you approach the holiday season feeling overwhelmed by what needs to get done? There’s shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, parties … and more parties.  Despite all these “to-dos,” there’s another essential thing that should top your list: exercise.

This second in our series of “healthy holiday tips” focuses on ways to make exercise part of your holiday routine. As the holiday season begins, it’s important to get the exercise you need for your physical and mental health. Although the American Heart Association recommends physical activity on most, if not all days of the week, you can start this holiday season with something more “doable.” Try to fit in as much exercise as possible, with the realization that some exercise is better than none. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week is optimal. And, remember, now isn’t the time to set lofty goals for weight loss or working out, but to maintain your weight and do some form of exercise through the holidays.

The key is to establish an exercise routine now, and carry that throughout the winter, spring, summer, fall … A routine may be difficult at first, but once it becomes just that — routine — you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

6 tips for a more motivated “you” this holiday season:

  1. Don’t undo calories you’ve already burned. Oftentimes, the fact that we’ve worked out gives us the mental “go-ahead” to splurge on a favorite appetizer or dessert at a holiday party or dinner. Your workout should be thought of as a healthy accomplishment on its own — not an “all-clear” to indulge in unhealthy food.
  2. Don’t let anything interfere with your exercise routine. Make your workout a structured part of your day. Aim for a morning or lunchtime workout. Find a buddy who you know will be waiting for you, and vice versa. Schedule your workouts on your calendar or phone to serve as a reminder to get up and get moving.
  3. Think differently about your workout. Don’t view exercise as a way to burn calories, but as a way to become healthier and to feel and look better.
  4. Embrace technology. If high-tech gadgets are your thing, look into electronic devices like Jawbone or Fitbit, which are designed to help motivate you by tracking your activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep. They can also provide a virtual support system that connects you with like-minded individuals.
  5. Be physically active every day. If you can’t work out, try to be physically active in other ways: aim for a higher number of steps that day, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk the dog around the block one more time.
  6. Remember, it’s all about balance. Exercising not only gives you more energy to get through the holidays, it can also:
  • Ease anxiety, stress and depression that seem to be more evident during holidays.
  • Help build self-esteem, so you tend to make healthier choices.
  • Lower your blood pressure.
  • Help you sleep.
  • Boost your endorphins, which reduces the stressors in your body.

Think of your healthy routine as the gift you give yourself this holiday season.You’ll arrive at the New Year feeling encouraged and motivated to keep up the good work. As part of the holiday season, consider the gift of good health for yourself or others. The U-M Metabolic Fitness Program accepts new patients each month who are particularly interested in optimizing their lifestyle to prevent heart diseases, stroke and diabetes. Take the next step:


yoga picture Kari Smith, M.Ed., has extensive experience in stress testing and cardiac rehabilitation, as well as additional training in healthy lifestyle and weight-loss coaching. She is a yoga instructor at Domino’s Farms Phase III Fitness Center and is an educator in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. She earned her master’s degree in exercise physiology from Wayne State University and her undergraduate degree in psychology from Michigan State University.

 

Samantha FinkSamantha Fink is a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine. She is involved with the U-M  Cardiac Rehabilitation Program and the Metabolic Fitness Program. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.

 

 

Frankel-informal-vertical-sigThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.

6 simple tips to help you quit smoking for good

Today is Great American Smokeout Day

cigarette-butt

November 20 is the Great American Smokeout Day. Make this the day you quit for good!

More than 400,000 Americans die as a result of cigarette smoking each year. But no one ever died from quitting! Here are six simple — but not easy — tips to help you quit smoking for good.

Tips to quit smoking

  1. Prepare in advance by setting a “Quit Day.” Then, celebrate when that date comes. It’s a special occasion and should be treated as one.
  2. Think about your tobacco behavior and identify what triggers your urges and cravings. Then, learn to separate yourself from the situations in which you used tobacco by changing your routine. Most people find the craving goes away within a short period of time. Until it does, don’t go back to your old routines. Continue reading

First in a series: Healthy holiday tips

8 tips to get you started on a healthy eating routine this holiday season and beyond

holiday eating blogDo you approach the holiday season feeling that weight gain is inevitable? Although many people think gaining weight goes hand in hand with holiday celebrations, studies show that between mid-November and early January, the average person actually gains about one pound — not the 5 pounds we often expect to see on the scale. But most people never lose that one pound they may have gained during the cold months, and find that after 10-plus years, those pounds have added up. This first in our series of “healthy holiday tips” focuses on ways to make sure healthy eating is part of your holiday routine.

The key is to establish a healthy routine now, before the holidays begin, and carry that throughout the winter, spring, summer, fall … A healthy routine may be difficult at first, but once it becomes just that — routine — you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

8 tips for a healthier “you” during the holidays and beyond:

  1. Don’t skip meals. It may seem like a good idea to save calories for a large meal later in the day, but being overly hungry can set you up to overeat, especially if you’ll be near high-fat or sugary treats. Instead, have breakfast, a light lunch and a small snack such as a piece of fruit. It’s easier to make healthy choices when you’re not famished.
  2. Prepare healthy meals at home. Plan ahead for meals that are quick and easy. If you’re expecting company, get your guests involved in the kitchen so you don’t miss the fun. And don’t forget to fill your plate with vegetables and fruits, lean protein and whole grains to give added energy.
  3. Include delicious, nutritious snacks. Rather than cheese and crackers or holiday cookies, plan snacks like raw vegetables and hummus or a handful of nuts.
  4. Take healthy dishes to a potluck-style dinner or party. Think foods you can eat freely: a vegetable tray, roasted vegetables or a fruit salad. You’ll know ahead of time there will be at least one healthy dish available.
  5. Avoid drinking excess calories. It’s easy to put away 350 calories or more with a single cup of eggnog — and calories add up quickly from alcohol. Save those calories for your food, and choose calorie-free beverages such as sparkling water or water with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
  6. Include a few treats as part of your healthy eating pattern. A few splurges shouldn’t de-rail your health or weight management plans as long as you fit them into your day by eating well the rest of the time. Have a small portion of the most delicious treat, the one made especially for you or the one you only see once a year. And then get back to healthy living — without feeling guilty or discouraged.
  7. Make exercise a priority. Whether you’re on “vacation schedule” or following your usual schedule, set aside time for physical activity every day. Go to the fitness center, try a winter sport like cross country skiing, go dancing or simply get out and walk. Even if it’s a holiday, we still need to be moving, stretching and burning calories!
  8. Take time for stress management. Even the happy stressors of holidays and vacations can take a toll on your well-being if you don’t allow time to take care of yourself.

Think of your healthy routine as the gift you give yourself this holiday season.You’ll arrive at the New Year feeling encouraged and motivated to keep up the good work.

As part of the holiday season, consider the gift of good health for yourself or others. The U-M Metabolic Fitness Program accepts new patients each month who are particularly interested in optimizing their lifestyle to prevent heart diseases, stroke and diabetes.

Take the next step:


Weintraub 2 150x150Martha Weintraub, ACSW, MPH, RDN, is a member of the outpatient nutrition team at the Cardiovascular Medicine Clinic at Domino’s Farms.

 

 

 

Frankel-informal-vertical-sigThe University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.

 

Beyond the sticker shock of Warfarin alternatives

Analysis shows costs savings without frequent blood draws and fewer complications

Pills spillDoctors who are worried about the risk of stroke among their patients with the abnormal heart rhythm atrial fibrillation often look to anticoagulants for help – medicines that prevent dangerous blood clots, but can cost a lot.

Cardiovascular specialists at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center looked at the cost of dabigatran (Pradaxa) which is part of the new class of anticoagulants. They are simpler to use and less risky than Warfarin.

Medicare will spend an average of $75,496 to cover the cost of dabigatran for a 65-year-old with Medicare Part D coverage, compared to Warfarin’s cost of about $61,586. Research by the University of Michigan presented at this week’s American Heart Association scientific sessions reveals that in spite of the price tag, the new medicines can be cost-effective.

Continue reading

Is red meat unhealthy for your heart?

U-M healthcare providers weigh in on study showing connection between red meat and heart failure

meat blogA study out of Cleveland Clinic, recently reported in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, seems to answer the question “Is red meat unhealthy for your heart?”–until you look a little more closely. The study found a strong association between TMAO (trimethylamine oxidase) and severity of heart failure, including an increased risk of death in patients with high TMAO levels. TMAO is a digestion byproduct of bacteria that can live in peoples’ intestines, and has previously been linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Foods such as red meat and eggs are the most common sources of TMAO in the diet.

A look at the study

Some who read this study might be quick to say that heart failure patients should eat less red meat and eggs. However, since the authors did not look at food intake, it is difficult say for sure how TMAO levels in this study related to the dietary patterns of the patients. Some researchers believe that the walls of the intestine become ‘leaky’ when severe heart failure causes fluid congestion there. These leaky walls could let bacteria or their byproducts, like TMAO, into the bloodstream to cause problems. While patients with high TMAO levels in this study were on average older and sicker, most did not appear to have truly severe heart failure. Continue reading

Honoring Our Veterans

U-M Nurse Exemplifies Commitment to Country

Totzkay 1 Blog

Selfless service is important to Deborah Totzkay, who has been a military reservist for 27 years.

Deborah Totzkay’s life has been one of service to others — both in the military and as a nurse.

A 27-year military reserve career has taken Deborah on missions throughout the United States. She considers it a “matter of luck” that she was never deployed — but that doesn’t diminish Deborah’s commitment to serving her country.

“I fully believe that anyone who serves, or has served, in the military has demonstrated a significant commitment to their country and community,” she says.

Embracing the military life, Deborah became a member of the National Guard in 1981. Realizing she wanted more of a leadership role, she completed the U.S. Army Officer Candidate course, followed by Military Police Officer courses before becoming a Military Police Officer, a position she held from 1989 to 2003.

As a military reservist, Deborah earned an associate degree in nursing and was awarded a Henry Ford Community College Honor’s Scholarship. She continued her studies at Wayne State University, where she was awarded a Presidential Scholarship. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and continued her nursing studies. Continue reading