To Your Health

Get a Move On

With 206 bones and more than 600 muscles, our bodies are made to move. However, we now spend the majority of our waking time sitting in a constricted posture that prevents our bodies from functioning well.

In fact, sitting is now considered a health risk leading to several diseases, including heart, type 2 diabetes, obesity, arthritis and some cancers — even when we meet the minimum exercise guidelines.

Begin to actively avoid sitting. Think of it as part of your physical fitness goals for health protection. In addition to getting 150 minutes weekly of moderate–intensity exercise (such as brisk walking), you can stay active throughout each day. For example:

  • Walk whenever you can around your workplace, home, and neighborhood.
  • Walk after meals and during your breaks.
  • Get up and move about while viewing TV, talking on the phone or eating lunch.
  • Do more chores.
  • Pace while watching sporting events.
  • Stand as you read or use your smartphone.
  • Explore standing desks for work (with your employer’s okay) or home.

 

TIP:

Schedule several 10–minute action breaks each day; set a timer to remind you to get up and move. When you sit less, you’ll be motivated as you experience less stiffness and more energy.

6 foods that lower blood pressure

If your health care provider says you need to change how you eat to control your blood pressure, check your grocery list. Make sure it has these foods.

Fatty fish such as salmon and trout: aim for 2 to 3 portions each week to get omega–3 fats, which help improve blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Leafy greens: kale, spinach, and other vegetables in this group are nutritious, low in calories, and add beautiful color to stir–fries, salads, and soups. Enjoy green vegetables daily.

Low–fat dairy: aim for two daily servings of milk and yogurt (without sweetener) for added calcium and magnesium.

Beans: with a winning combination of fiber, potassium, and magnesium, enjoy beans such as edamame, navy beans, and chickpeas. Enjoy them in soups, on salads or as a dip.

Nuts and seeds: snack on an ounce of nuts and seeds instead of salty chips or pretzels. They provide a satisfying crunch with potassium and other nutrients, and less sodium.

Berries: people who eat more antioxidant–rich berries have a lower risk of high blood pressure. Eat them by the handful daily.

DID YOU KNOW? The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan uses these foods. Studies show it can lower blood pressure by up to 14 points and protect heart health.

Remember — it’s the combination of all foods that helps lower and control blood pressure.

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