Tag Archives: American Heart Association

American Heart Month 2016

Posted by on February 25, 2016 under Resources | Be the First to Comment

Heart Health

February is American Heart Month and now’s the time to learn more about not only what you can do to prevent having a heart attack, but what the symptoms are for both men and women. Check out the infographic below, originally published on HCA’s blog, to learn more about heart health and heart attack prevention, and these symptoms for men and women, from the American Heart Association:

Heart Attack Signs in Women

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away. 

Heart Attack Signs in Men and Women

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Heart Health

“Joy Sessions” Photographers Capture Treasured Moments With Terminally Ill Pets

Posted by on February 11, 2014 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

happy senior with petThere is little question that professionally-trained service animals, such as therapy dogs or guide dogs, offer invaluable assistance and therapeutic benefits to the elderly and disabled. But the therapeutic and health benefits that pets provide aren’t just limited to service animals. The American Heart Association recently announced that pet ownership may help lower your risk of heart disease. Pets also provide psychological benefits, including easing loneliness, increasing physical and social activity, and boosting mood. The presence of pets in nursing homes has been shown to reduce the need for medication, improve vital signs and nutritional intake, and help people cope with depression and stress-related disorders, even among older adults with dementia.

A recent Fox News article discussed how to cope with the loss of a pet. More than 164 million U.S. households enjoy the benefits of pet ownership, so it’s no surprise that when a cherished family pet is approaching end-of-life, many families mourn the loss of a strong emotional bond.

One Minnesotan photographer found a way to help people cope with the impending loss of a terminally ill pet by celebrating life through photography. Sarah Beth Ernhart began offering “Joy Sessions”, or reduced-rate photography sessions for elderly or terminally ill dogs and cats, after capturing a joyful relationship between a woman in hospice care and her service dog named Joy.  Since her first “Joy Session” in 2009, Sarah Ernhart has performed more than a hundred reduced-rate photo sessions with elderly or terminally ill pets. Her website also lists photographers across the country and worldwide who perform similar sessions. For more about Joy Sessions, visit www.joysession.com, or stop by the Joy Sessions Facebook page.

Just like people, many elderly or terminally ill pets struggle with loss of bladder or bowel control. For products to help keep your pet’s bed dry, visit TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.

Related: Prevail Underpads on Sale at TotalHomeCareSupplies

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7 Tips for Staying Motivated and Getting Back on Track

Posted by on July 17, 2013 under Resources | Be the First to Comment

Men Walking for Fitness

Image courtesy of the American Council on Exercise®

Finding it difficult to get out of bed in the morning for your daily workout?  Even the most dedicated exercisers occasionally get bored with their routines. Waning motivation, cutting workouts short and not having your old enthusiasm all are signs of a stale exercise regimen.  Before you call it quits on your New Year’s resolution, try these 7 tips for staying motivated and getting back on track!

1. Change It Up

Evaluate your routine to determine what really bores you.  If you’ve always walked indoors, move your workout outside for a change of scenery: hike on trails, walk through a park or around a lake.  Not sure what trails are nearby? This Trailfinder can show you local hiking and walking trails with your city, state and zip code.

2. Good Company

Walking alone can be an oasis of solitude in a busy day, but maybe you need some company. Ask a friend to be your walking partner — you’re much less likely to skip a workout if someone is waiting for you! Just about every sport or activity has a club; to find one, ask around at gyms or local community centers. Keeping up with the crowd also means that you’ll be challenged to improve and to take your walking workouts to a new level.  The Walking Site has links to help you find walking clubs and groups near you.

3. Challenge Yourself

Many exercisers walk simply to stay in shape, and most of the time that’s just fine. But setting a goal, such as walking a 5k or 10k race — especially one that benefits a charity or cause such as fighting heart disease — will give your daily workouts more meaning. (The Relay for Life is one example, although there are many different walks and races for a great causes!) Start by incorporating bursts of speed into your walks. After a gentle warm-up, alternate a fast pace with a slower one for recovery. This can be as simple as speed walking to the next tree, or as structured as timed intervals on a track or walking up stadium steps.

4. Add Variety

Elite triathletes pioneered the concept of cross-training, and it works for the rest of us, too. If you usually focus on one activity, such as walking, substitute another a few days a week. Consider adding 1–2 days of strength training exercises to your routine. Ideally, any exercise program should include moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, muscle strengthening exercise and flexibility. A certified personal trainer can help you if you’ve never tried this type of workout.

5. New Gadgets and Gear

Small exercise gadgets aren’t necessary, but they can make your workouts more fun and challenging. Pedometers, heart-rate monitors and MP3 players are just a few items to consider.  Are you a numbers person?  Activity trackers, such as the Nike FuelBand, Fitbit One, Jawbone Up and BodyMedia Fit Link offer advanced activity tracking with daily customizable goals.  Find out which new training gadgets are available, and which ones appeal to you. Even buying new walking shoes or clothes can inspire you to get out and use them.

6. Identify the Trigger

When you’ve lapsed from exercise, identify where you went wrong. Was it illness, bad weather, travel or staying busy with a big project at work? Figure out what caused you to break your good habits and ways you can avoid this in the future. Then look at your schedule to see where you can fit in your daily walks. Even if you have limited time, try to fit a couple of 10–15 minute brisk walks in during the day. Remember, some exercise is far better than none, but aim get at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.  See this article for creative ways to fit fitness into a busy schedule.

7. Take a Break

Sometimes you really do need time off, either mentally or physically. In that case, cut back on your usual routine or tweak it. You might even find a new twist that you enjoy more than your old standby. Once you’ve fought your first battle with boredom, you’ll know the tricks to keep your routine from becoming too routine. Trying new routes, new challenges and new activities — and learning how to throw a little variety into your tried-and-true routine — can help you avoid making creative excuses to not exercise.

RELATED: Top 10 Summer Fruits and Vegetables

For more health information and useful tips, visit our Resources Blog on Total Home Care Supplies. For  incontinenceostomyurological or wound supplies, visit our Total Home Care Supplies web store.  Fitness information provided by the American Heart Association and the American Council on Exercise.

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Dancing Improves Overall Health: Senior Edition

Posted by on June 26, 2013 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Dance Provides Health Benefits for all AgesTotalHomeCareSupplies

” …there is relatively strong evidence that dancing can significantly improve the aerobic power, muscle endurance, strength, and flexibility of the lower body; static and dynamic balance/agility; and gait speed of older adults. “
– Keogh, J.W.L, et al., Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

Whether you think you have rhythm or not, getting up and moving your feet to your favorite song may prove to be more beneficial than you thought. Dance is a form of expression that can bring forth laughter, smiles and happiness. Dance brings people together and encourages social support while encouraging physical activity. The health benefits of dance are undeniable. According to Carol Cummings, BSN, RN, Certified Wellness Coach, there are numerous benefits of dance, including lessening the effects of some chronic diseases:

    • Improved Posture
    • Stronger bones and muscles
    • Reduced Stress, increased joy
    • Confidence

RELATED: Cognitive Decline at 45? Six Ways To Protect Your Aging Brain

Here are some types of dance that my elicit different health benefits:

Ballroom dancing. While dancing is fun and a time to let loose, ballroom dancing takes a certain amount of concentration to remember each step and prevent you from stepping on your partners toes. This experience lessens the risk of dementia in old age by keeping the mind active and focused.

Argentine Tango. This specialized form of partner dance reaps numerous benefits. The tango is a fast paced, intricate dance that includes many sharp movements. These details have proven to show improvements in Parkinson’s disease patients by increasing mobility and balance. Read more here: Washington University in St. Louis.

Waltz. According to a study conducted by the American Heart Association, those with chronic heart disease who participated in dance for exercise showed dramatic increases in functionality and quality of life. The patients were more likely to participate in physical activity because it was fun, which in turn increased their arterial capacity.

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Health Benefits of Walking: Time of Day Tips

Posted by on May 10, 2013 under Resources | Be the First to Comment

Walking Shoes

Image courtesy of the American Council on Exercise

Are you walking your way to better health?  Walking for fitness has proven and measurable health benefits, and it’s completely free!  Among other benefits, a regular walking program can:

  • Boost your immune system
  • Increase bone strength
  • Reduce risk for Glaucoma, Alzheimer’s and Colon Cancer
  • Prevent weight gain
  • Increase your energy and stamina
  • Reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure

When’s the best time to go walking?  Anytime you can fit it in!  The US Department of Health and Human Services, the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine have all agreed that two 10-minute walking sessions will benefit us almost as much as one 20-minute session.  You just need a total of at least 2½ hours each week (that’s about 20 minutes a day). Here are some time-of-day tips for early morning, mid-day and evening walkers.

Tips for Early Morning Walkers:

  • The night before, get your walking clothes and shoes ready so it’s easy to put them on and head out the door.
  • Program your Ipod or MP3 player with an upbeat music playlist, or set it to your favorite radio station to help keep you moving at a brisk pace.  Just make sure you can still hear traffic, and take extra care when crossing intersections.
  • If it’s dark outside, wear light colors or clothing with reflective stripes so motorists can see you.
  • Watch a morning news show or check your email while gently stretching your calves and hamstrings at the end of your walk..

Tips for Lunchtime Walkers:

  • Schedule your lunchtime walk in your work calendar. Think of it as an important appointment – which it is!
  • If you can, keep everything you’ll need for walking at work. This way you won’t find yourself saying “I forgot my shoes. I can’t go.”
  • Recruit a couple of colleagues to join you.  You can help keep each other motivated, and good conversation makes the time pass quickly!
  • Depending on your walking pace and the weather, you may be able to wear your work clothes and just switch to athletic shoes. . If you’re walking briskly, you’ll heat up after about 10 minutes, so avoid the tendency to overdress. 
  • Pick a route where you can grab a healthy snack or lunch at the end of your walk, or better yet, pack your own.

Tips for After-Work Walkers:

  • Have a light snack at about 4 p.m. (for example, a low-fat yogurt and a handful of almonds, or an apple and a piece of cheese) so you don’t experience a late-day dip in energy and talk yourself out of walking.
  • Pick an area that’s not heavily trafficked, since rush hour can affect the quality of the air.
  • Walk tall, and do some backward shoulder rolls and gentle neck stretches to relieve work stress.
  • If it’s dark, wear light-colored clothing, or clothing with reflective strips so motorists can see you.

Most importantly, have fun! 

For more health information and useful tips, visit our Resources Blog on TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.  To shop for incontinenceostomyurological or wound supplies, visit our Total Home Care Supplies web store.

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4 Ways to Make Walking More Fun

Posted by on May 2, 2013 under Resources | Be the First to Comment

Is your daily walking routine growing stale?  Try changing things up!  New routines not only keep things fresh, they force us to use new muscles, making our workouts more productive. Sticking to a familiar workout routine may be comfortable, but your body become more efficient and burns fewer calories.  It’s also easier to get bored and lose motivation when your workout is the same each day.  Here are 4 ways to make your daily walk more fun:

1. Urban walk.  Take your walk into the city!  Start at a slow pace for five minutes. After you’re warmed up, alternate between a slow and rapid pace for each city block. Take flights of stairs two at a time. Find a bus stop or a park bench and do some stretching to cool down.  If you enjoy people-watching, an urban walk will make the time fly by.

2. Mall walk. Tired of the same outdoor route? Take your workout to the nearby mall.  Indoor malls offer a safe environment with restrooms, water, snacks, and interesting sights, no matter the weather or time of day. It works well for groups, too; catch up with your friends and burn calories at the same time!

3. Forest or creek walk. If you normally walk in the city, take your walk to the closest park or to rural hiking paths.  If you’re used to pavement, start with easy trails.  The uneven ground will challenge new muscles, but keep an eye out for roots or rocks that could trip you.  Carry bottled water and dress in layers.  Look for waterfalls, local wildlife, or other natural wonders.

4. Meditation walk.   Try to turn your spinning thoughts off and turn your focus inside.  Feel the soles of your feet meeting the ground and notice the pressure changes as you stride. Take deep breaths and savor the air filling your lungs.  Listen for the hum of insects, birds or people.  Awaken all your senses to what you hear, see, smell, and feel.

Do you have more creative walking ideas?  We’d love to hear them!

For more health information and useful tools, visit our Resources Blog on Total Home Care Supplies.  For  incontinenceostomyurological or wound supplies, visit our online store on TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.

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Fitting Fitness Into a Busy Schedule

Posted by on April 26, 2013 under Resources | Read the First Comment

Group Walking

Image courtesy of the American Council on Exercise

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard that exercise is good for you – and that regular exercise is best.  What’s the best time to exercise?  Anytime!  Of course for most of us, actually finding time to exercise is a workout by itself.  With days crammed full of work, family and errands, personal activities like exercise tend to be the first on the chopping block.

Enter: walking.  Even with a busy schedule, you can find creative ways to fit in a couple of quick 10-minute walking sessions, and presto!  You’re on an exercise program.  The US Department of Health and Human Services, the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine have all agreed that two 10-minute walking sessions will benefit us almost as much as one 20-minute session.  You just need to fit in a total of 2½ hours over the course of a week (that’s about 20 minutes a day).  What are the health benefits of walking?  Surprisingly, just walking daily improves cholesterol, boosts bone strength, lowers blood pressure, helps prevent weight gain and increases energy and stamina.  It also reduces glaucoma risk, halves your odds of catching a cold, and even reduces your risk for Alzheimer’s and colon cancer, among other benefits.

You can squeeze in those 10–15 minute sessions by stretching your legs around the neighborhood after work, walking to a lunch spot that’s 10 minutes away or heading to the corner store for a few items.  Instead of trying to find the closest parking spot when you’re going to the store or out to meet friends, park a little further away and use the extra time you would have spent searching for a close spot to walk there.  If you take the bus, get off a stop early.  Here are a few more creative scheduling suggestions:

  • During the work day, take the long way to the copier or restroom. Walk over to talk to someone instead of calling. Instead of a coffee break, take a 10-minute walk break! You’ll burn a few extra calories and help prevent the muscle stiffness that comes from sitting in a chair all day.
  • To catch up with an old friend, schedule a walk together. It’s a great way to get some exercise and fresh air while you’re enjoying each other’s company. Chances are that you’ll be so focused on the conversation that you’ll walk farther than you planned.
  • Discuss business plans with colleagues while going for a short walk instead of sitting at a desk.  See if you can develop a new corporate culture of “walking meetings.”
  • On weekends, take a family walk and reconnect with your family members.  If the kids want to go to the park or a friend’s house, great!  Walk together to get there.
  • Turn shopping into an aerobic activity. Shopping is walking, so don’t stop for 10 minutes straight and before you know it, you’ve worked in one of your daily sessions.  Check with your local mall for mall walker programs, and you’ll have company.

Have any other creative walking suggestions?  We’d love to hear them!

For more health information and useful tips, visit our Resources Blog on TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.  To shop for incontinence, ostomy, urological or wound supplies, visit our Total Home Care Supplies web store.

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Walk Your Way to Better Health! Walking Tips and Tidbits

Posted by on April 8, 2013 under Resources | Read the First Comment

Walking 101

Walking as a fitness activity is growing by leaps and bounds.  It’s low-risk and easy to start, it has proven and measurable health benefits, and it’s completely free!  Among other benefits, a regular walking program can:

Family walking

Read more on our Six Week Walking Challenge!

  • Improve your cholesterol profile
  • Boost your bone strength
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Prevent weight gain
  • Increase your energy and stamina

How Much Should I Walk?

Experts at the American Heart Association recommend that every American adult engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity daily, a minimum of 2½ hours per week.  You can do that by walking two miles briskly (about four miles an hour).  If this is too fast, or if you’re a beginner walker, choose a more comfortable pace.

Get Ready!

It’s simple to start a walking program!  All you need are comfortable clothes and supportive shoes.  Wear layers of loose clothing, keeping in mind that brisk exercise elevates the body’s temperature.  Choose supportive, properly fitting footwear; shoes specifically designed for walking or running are best.  Make sure you have a little wiggle room (½”) between your longest toe and the end of your shoe.

Technique

  • Begin with short distances.  Start with a walk that feels comfortable (5–10 min) and gradually increase your time or distance each week.  If it’s easier on your joints (or your schedule) to take several shorter walks instead of one long walk each day, that’s fine, too!
  • Focus on posture.  Keep your head lifted, stomach pulled in and shoulders relaxed.  Swing your arms naturally.  Select a comfortable, natural step length, and don’t overstride.   If you want to move faster, try to pull your back leg through to take the next step more quickly.
  • Breathe deeply.  If you can’t talk or catch your breath while walking, slow down.  Speed isn’t important at first — just focus on establishing the walking habit.

Intensity

  • To warm up, walk at an easy pace for the first few minutes, then gradually increase your speed to a purposeful pace. You can incorporate some brisk intervals to add variety, such as: walking one block briskly, then two blocks more slowly, and repeating several times.  As your strength increases, gradually add more fast intervals with shorter recovery periods
  • Walking hills is a great way to tone your legs and increase your workout! Treadmill walking is also a good option during inclement weather.
  • The end of your walk is an ideal time to stretch since your body is warmed up.  Stretch your hamstrings and calves gently (important walking muscles) as well as your chest, shoulders and back.  Hold each stretch for 15–30 seconds, but never stretch to the point of pain.
  • Track your progress. Experts recommend that you walk at least 30 minutes a day.  If walking is part of your weight-loss plan, then walking 45-60 minutes a day at brisk intervals will help you burn more calories.  If you don’t have that much time, fit walking into your schedule whenever you can – even if it means three 10-minute walks over the course of a day.  The best schedule is one that keeps you walking and keeps you fit!

Safety

  • Feel free to listen to lively music while you walk to energize your workout.  But if you wear headphones, keep the volume down and watch out for traffic.
  • Wear light colors or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight or glow stick when visibility is low, so that you can be easily seen by motorists.
  • Stick to sidewalks when you can, and choose streets with lower speed limits.  On faster streets, motorists are less likely to see pedestrians and can’t stop as quickly.
  • Know your area. Which businesses are open?  Where are emergency telephones located?  Walk on well-traveled streets rather than taking shortcuts in alleys or parking lots.  Be self-assured and walk purposefully to lower your chances of becoming a victim.
  • Two heads are better than one. Walking with a partner or in groups discourages crime and may help alert you to dangers such as speeding motorists or unleashed dogs.
  • If you have foot, knee, hip or back pain when walking, STOP and check with your doctor.  You may need special exercises or different shoes.  If you have osteoarthritis, and have increased joint pain that lasts an hour or two after walking, your doctor may suggest another activity like stationary cycling or water exercise.  Don’t stop exercising altogether!

This walking program was developed by the American Council on Exercise in collaboration with the American Heart Association.  ©2011 American Council on Exercise, all rights reserved.  For more information on the health benefits of walking, or for additional health and nutrition information, please visit our Resources and Tools blog on TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.

To shop for incontinence,ostomyurological or wound supplies, please visit our Total Home Care Supplies web store.  Fast, Free, Discreet shipping on all orders over $40.

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Walk Your Way To Better Health! The Six-Week Challenge

Posted by on April 3, 2013 under Resources | 2 Comments to Read

April 3rd is National Walking Day with the American Heart Association, and we’re asking you to join us on a Six-Week Challenge!  Walking daily improves cholesterol, boosts bone strength, lowers blood pressure, prevents weight gain and increases energy and stamina.   It also reduces glaucoma risk, halves your odds of catching a cold, and even reduces your risk for Alzheimer’s and colon cancer, among other benefits.  Join millions of men and women across America, and pledge to live a healthier lifestyle, get heart-healthy and fit!

Every Wednesday on the Total Home Care Supplies Blog, we’ll be giving tips on how to walk your way to better health, as well as posting weekly “Healthy Living” articles.  Are you a beginner?  No problem!  This Six-Week Beginner Walking Plan was developed by American Council on Exercise and the American Heart Association, and is suitable for every fitness level.  With just 30 minutes of walking a day, five days a week – that’s just 2 1/2 hours per week – the health benefits of walking are proven and measurable.  So get out your sneakers, and walk your way to better health in six weeks!

Six Week Beginner Walking Plan

Six Week Beginner Walking Plan developed by American Council on Exercise, in collaboration with the American Heart Association

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