Physical Fitness and Nutrition

Posted on 10/13/2017

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Thirty Minutes a day works!

Exercise is one of the most important things we can do for good health as it:

  • Promotes a healthier heart
  • Builds stronger muscles and bones
  • Improves mood (releases “feel good” hormones)
  • Helps manage weight
  • Helps manage diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure

Understand that one activity does not fit everyone! Great forms of exercise include:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Chair stretches
  • Tai chi
  • Dancing

Ten minutes of exercise, performed three times throughout the day is fine, or challenge yourself to get up and move (walk) during the time when the commercials are showing while you are watching your favorite show.

It is always important to check with your doctor before you start any form of exercise routine to ensure that it is safe for you.

Healthful eating can help you keep active!

It is known that healthful eating and regular exercise can prevent and control many conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. A plan everyone should follow is: take your medications as prescribed, see your doctor once a year for a “well visit” and eat a healthy diet.

A healthy lifestyle will help prevent hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations.
Tell your case manager if you have recently been to the emergency room or have been hospitalized.

Here are some medical conditions and how the foods you eat affect them.

Diabetes and pre-diabetes

Diabetes means that your blood sugar is too high. Pre-diabetes is when your blood glucose level is slightly higher than normal though you don’t yet have diabetes. High blood glucose can harm your heart and blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes. Medication controls your blood sugar but healthy eating also helps.

Try a new habit. Drink more water and avoid sugary drinks. This helps keep your blood sugar in the recommended range.

High blood pressure

Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. If it is too high it will damage the heart, blood vessels and kidneys.

Medications can control blood pressure but one dietary change that can help a lot is to reduce the amount of salt in your diet. A new habit would be to stop adding salt to your food. Try flavoring your cooking with herbs and spices, mustard, vinegars and lemon juice and eat less processed food.

Congestive heart failure (CHF)

This occurs when the heart has trouble pumping your blood throughout your body. CHF can occur for many reasons but the goal is not to have the heart work so hard.

If your blood pressure is high your heart will be working harder. Do not add salt to your food. Follow the suggestions above. Maintain the right weight for your height – your heart works harder if you are overweight.

High cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat that your body uses to work properly. If your levels are too high it can increase your chances of strokes and heart problems.
Medications are available but diet also plays a role. Some new habits would be to trim the fat – use lean cuts of meat, take the skin off chicken and eat more fish. Broil and roast food, using nonstick pans and cooking spray. Try using low fat dairy products.

We want you to be successful. Ask your case manager for advice and help. Strive to make one change at a time and don’t give up!

Smart eating

What you eat affects your weight, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. You have heard it before. What you should and should not eat. You have been told to make changes, not necessarily an easy thing to do. Maybe it would help if you look at ways to make that change.

Let’s look at meal planning.

Portion control

Did you know that the average size of a dinner plate has increased? Plates used to be 9 inches in diameter and now might even be 12 inches. One clever way to control portions is to use a smaller plate.

Are you puzzled about what is meant by a ‘small’ serving of rice or pasta? For example, one serving of cooked rice is equal to 1/3 of a measuring cup. Using measuring cups is another way to control portions.

Take action!

Lighthouse Guild provides a full spectrum of vision and healthcare services helping people who are blind or visually impaired. If you are a member of GuildNet, talk to your Care Manager about the services available to you in the community.