How to Start to Get Your Health (and Life) Back

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Question: I recently went to the doctor and was informed that I have high blood pressure, and am borderline diabetic. If I lose weight, and change my eating habits then I should be a lot better soon. The doctor recommended exercise and I really don’t’ know where to start. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Answer: Considering the rise in insurance premiums, companies passing the costs on to their employees and raising the deductible limits your best insurance is not to get sick. Now that may sound ridiculous at first, but the point is to be doing the things that keep you as healthy as possible. That would include eating healthier choices, drinking plenty of water and exercising by doing both cardio and resistance training.
The cardio is an important part of helping to lower your blood pressure. This would consist of walking at a challenging pace on the treadmill or outside, using an elliptical trainer or riding either a stationary bike or one outside. The problems with riding outside is making it challenging by not coasting too much or if you are walking, to find a course with inclines to make you work harder. However you do cardio, the idea is to get your heart pumping at 70% of your maximum heart rate and maintain it for 20 to 40 minutes. You may start by doing 20 minutes but you need to work towards 40 minutes. This type of work is one of the best things you can do for your heart and blood pressure.
Train with weights two days a weeks and you will see dramatic results in lowering your blood sugar, more than the walking does. Weight training specifically uses large amount of glycogen, which is the form of stored carbohydrates which our bodies use for energy. This along with changes in hormones, serotonin and endorphins tends to make you feel better and keep your blood sugar more level as long as you moderate the sugars you eat. Avoid soft drinks, even diet, and drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Eliminate or at least restrict fast food. That means planning meals, cooking in advance and taking food with you to work. Eat more vegetables. Choose foods high in fiber and as a borderline diabetic you should eliminate white bread, white flour and white sugar along with highly processed foods.
Changing to a healthier lifestyle won’t be easy but will get easier as you continue. The benefits far outweigh the discomfort of change. The results of these changes is that your blood pressure will drop along with your blood sugar levels. You should have more energy and better clarity. Stress levels will drop. You will lose weight as you train which will boost your confidence. The exercise will strengthen your immune system making you less susceptible to colds and viruses. Weight training will make your bones stronger and provide better muscle tone. Being stronger will make daily activities like taking in groceries or cleaning much easier. Your healthier eating habits, more protein, fruits and vegetables will further boost your immune system. The increased water consumption along with the protein will make your skin look and feel healthier. The bottom line is that being healthy means you won’t have to be in the doctor’s office as much. It does not require you to exist like a monk or bodybuilder preparing for a show. It’s moderate changes over time that do the job and you will find that you really don’t miss all the unhealthy things you used to do and eat.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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