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Staying Fit ( or just Healthy) During Cold and Flu Season…with AFib (atrial fibrillation) February 19, 2019

I have spent the last few months on the edge of a full blown winter cold. A small sniffle here and a teasing cough there. The whole time i have been in some level of fear since 2 years ago- I entered winter with a pretty bad cold(bronchitis later) and emerged in spring in HEART FAILURE- AFIB (atrial fibrillation) and been dealing with it since then.

I survived the winter of 2017-18 without any illness but just before the Christmas holiday I started feeling the twinge in my chest and throat.

Now the fear crept in and I started with tea and juice. I am concerned with the empty calories in juice BUT also concerned with getting a chest cold so I water down OJ, Grapefruit and grape juice with seltzer. It gives me plenty of fluids and the vitamins- Speaking of vitamins I add more supplements to my intake as the lungs feel “funny”.

I fought the cold ll season BUT still ended with a full blown cough- that occasionally kept me awake. This year the cough never progressed beyond the pain in the butt stage But it was still there and it added congestion to my chest that was already compromised in breathing due to the Afib. The pumping of blood through the upper chambers of my heart is out of whack and I often have mild difficulty catching my breath. This winter has been a minor breathing challenge.

I have also noticed an increase in weight, most likely due to water retention. Since I have had trouble have not been to the gym nor done much other exercise. That usually helps when I detect bloating. A good sweat helps.

 

I found this article on PINTEREST…similar to other info I have read.

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/heart-disease-colds

 

@martyroddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heart Failure, A Fib and Weight Loss November 19, 2018

I have been living with AND AWARE of my Atrial Fibrillation ( AFib ) induced heart failure for about 18 months and I have seen benefits of a proper diet and exercise as well as the results when I slip.

I had a small health setback and put on a bunch of the weight I had lost and am feeling the effects of the AFib more and more. Focusing on diet ,low salt and low fat hav helped , but combining with exercise and weight loss will return me to the path of health.

The following video talks about the benefit of even a 10% reduction in weight. Since my BMI is up there and my weight is too, my ultimate loss could be as high as 35%.

https://youtu.be/RqRy1n-3SVc

I am enjoying the current trip to health but want to create a lifestyle that will keep me in a comfortable zone.

Dr. Gupta discusses the benefit of diet, good sleep, stress reduction and exercise for both the weight loss and AFib reduction. I see the above package as a team or total prescription. ..exercise helps sleep and stress, less stress helps sleep and diet, good diet gives energy and well being….

It all builds on the other and I look forward to,the journey.

A quick video on exercise… https://youtu.be/aHqfgs5lEGk.

@martyroddy

 

Heart Health videos July 11, 2018

Saw a quickie video with information about exercise and heart health

A short video with some discussion of Cardio machines….that I agree with….

I love the rower and the Stairmaster or StepMill ( one company name) and enjoy the Arc Trainer ( an option for elliptical trainer)

@martyroddy

 

Neck and Back Pain- Exercise, Stretching and Yoga…Cures!!?? November 24, 2017

During a recent conversation with a friend we discussed her headache and neck issues. The focus was on non-medical efforts to relieve her pain and prevent it in the future. The pain always started in or near the neck and her jaw.

We discussed a few stretches and exercises and discussed yoga. I looked for a couple of  articles that would describe moves/poses that can provide comfort to painful neck and head.

The following are some goodbasic moves/poses for the body and specifically the neck.

 

https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/yoga-by-benefit/neck-pain

http://www.chopra.com/articles/6-yoga-poses-to-help-relieve-neck-pain#sm.0006ka9hx6zdewe11bg1znqzmnk4t

 

These are a bit more broad brush. Effective for the body and ultimately for the neck.

https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/9-yoga-poses-to-help-relieve-neck-and-shoulder-pain

 

 

@martyroddy

 

 

Heart Failure,Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib) and Exercise September 27, 2017

Now that I am 6 months beyond the diagnosis of Heart Failure with Atrial Fibrillation I am looking at information about both of these conditions and my personal feelings and health.

I am still in A Fib but I have also lost well over 100 pounds and continue to workout , eat well and workout some more. I am doing a variety of cardio workouts to pump the blood, exercise the heart and of course burn some calories and fat. I am also doing some resistance exercise ( weightlifting and bodyweight moves)  to rebuild the body and muscular system.

I have written about the exercise and will do more in the future but my cardio includes walking outside, rowing on the Concept 2 Erg Trainer, Riding the Cybex stationary bike and the Cybex Arc Trainer ( Elliptical ) and starting on the Nautilus Stairmaster.

Now as Dr.Gupta says in the exercise video I may be able to attempt  a marathon again in the future. I need to take it easy and build up slowly- if I continue with a smart diet( currently plant based low fat diet) and the exercise program and a plan to build up to the kind of training necessary for a 4-6 hour run.

Regardless of that outcome I plan on dropping more of the weight- keeping it off and maintaining healthy lifestyle while dealing with the long term concerns with the heart failure diagnosis and possibly changing/improving on it.

Time to publish and eat a proper meal and later to the gym.

A video with info about A Fib…Not a good diagnosis BUT not the END either.

 

Exercise and Heart Disease video- good info and a great quote, ” for most, exercise allows for people to fell better AND a longer life than most medication only plans.”

Another good quote- wrong to dive into exercise , gradually increase effort and amount of exercise.

 

@martyroddy

 

 

What are My Goals?  Do You have Goals?? July 6, 2017

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.                    Zig Ziglar

I have been a goal setter and goal planner for a long time. In my younger life my goals..or my written goals were almost exclusively sports , athletics and physically related. A few examples included improvements specific stats in a sports situation or reaching a target weightlifting maximum during offseason workouts.

There were some goals in other settings, usually academic but they were barely written done and if so, the details and plans were limited to the target accomplishment but with limited details about the work required.

Later in life I wrote out some goals and even accomplished them. This was limited in scope and success. 

I have now created a broad set of goals and my current health/ physical goals have taken on a new importance. The March 2017 diagnosis of HEART FAILURE, created an urgency that a “generic” weight loss / GET FIT goal may not have. Doctors have suggested diet recommendations and limitations as well as some exercise, they have agreed to my general plan of getting back into shape as I drop weight and move towards a physical situation that is most healthy.

    My physical goals include a variety of the following….
  1. Weight loss of 150+ pounds (good progress..)
  2. Return to running and participate in a few races for fun and travel
  3. Participate in group fitness classes and/ or events
  4. Have great energy, good rest and a positive attitude because I feel great

Time to get to the gym, us ether elliptical, now,that I can, and work on the tower and bike as well.
@martyroddy

 

Elliptical Machine- Low Impact Heart Training Machine June 30, 2017

I recently tried to use the elliptical trainers at the gym[ @Snapfitness ] and was pleasantly surprised that i could use these machines. Over the years I have tried different elliptical trainers at different gyms BUT they were all too small.

Small is a function of the rage of motion or stroke length for each leg/foot movement as well s the arm motion.  Using these “too small” machines created discomfort and cramps in short order. Now I tried the machines at my new gym and loved the motion. So I took the machine “for a spin”  and enjoyed the workout. Heck “enjoyed” might seem like  funny word for the sweaty, discomfort I found my self in after 10 minutes. It was a joyful discomfort and i looked forward to future workouts.

I went back to the gym the next day and did it again  This time I planned for a 10 minute workout and when I recovered, I did it again for 5 minutes.  This was a good workout and i look forward to doing it regularly , now that I can.

This will be great for my body and heart as it cranks the blood through me and burns the fat and gristle from me. All of this with minimal stress and threat to my questionable knees. I will also walk outside and on the treadmill until I reach a target weight..at which time I will start running and a run-walk program.

I have attached a basic elliptical use video and fun workout video. I like workouts with a structure, especially that can require a little bit of concentration during the workout- helps pass the time.

I am down almost 140 pounds…..Now with this new calorie eating tool…. bring on bikini season.

 

 

 

@martyroddy

 

BROKEN HEART FITNESS – Fitness Group for Cardiac and Heart Patients  June 15, 2017

Broken Heart was the first name that came to mind. It doesn’t say the heart is done, just that it is broken in some way and can be improved or maintained. 

A fitness club or workout group that is focused  on cardiac issues relating to diet and exercise is an obvious group and many fitness clubs and groups address cardiac wellness and health in general . A group of this nature would focus specifically improving and / or maintaining the heart health , especially after a diagnosis of heart failure or heart disease.

Organizing, leading or supporting a helpful group provides the volunteers (some that are experts – interested patients or family members ) the opportunity to give back while also improving personal cardiac health and strength as needed. Service in the support of others is what we are here for.

God designed us to give or lend strength to others and those in need. It is one of the ways we fulfill His great Commandment : love other people as much as we love ourselves .  Heart Patients, heart experts and other interested persons can assist a group in organizing and succeeding.

The club/ group is being formed with the goals of :

  1. Assist all members in achieving fitness goals
  2. Promote best total health for all members
  3. Provide diet and food guidance and support
  4. Support lifestyle changes necessary for recovery and strength

If interested please follow up with comments and we will reply via email. 
@martyroddy

 

A FIB, Atrial Fibrillation – Getting the Rhythm Back June 11, 2017

I have been writing lately about my diagnosis of heart failure / Atrial Fibrillation {A Fib} and the reasons I was unable to breathe comfortably at the beginning of March ( actually I was struggling and living a risky life for a few weeks before). Now that the diagnosis is in, I have the opportunity to overcome the problems that led to it and prepare for and live a healthy life.

The first situation was a 10 day stay in the hospital where the primary concern was helping me breathe easily again. This was achieved through an intensive medical regimen-centered on diuretics to flush my body of excess fluids. I lost nearly 50 pounds of fluid during the hospital stay. I continued to flush and lost more than 100 pounds.

What else was done or is done to treat and /or deal with heart failure and AFib ? What was prescribed for me?

  1. Medical- While in the hospital the doctors tried a handful of medicines to see what would work and eventually I ended up with prescriptions for 2 blood pressure medications(anti-hypertensives) One and A.C.E. inhibitor and a Calcium Channel blocker. I have also been taking a baby aspirin as a blood thinner(platelet thinner) As well as continued use of a low dose diuretic to reduce fluid build up.  I have also been taking magnesium and potassium since these valuable electrolytes are often flushed with diuretic use.
  2. Exercise- Though it was not specifically “prescribed” I was determined to get back to working out and the doctors seemed to let me go. I was essentially starting over so I was not able to overdo things at the beginning, and now almost 3 months later, I still can not really overdo it when I walk or ride or row BUT I have been tempted to push it a little with the resistance exercises ( lifting weights/machines)  I have experienced an increase in strength and fitness as I do the work and have even felt the cardio-vascular fitness improve. I have short and long term goals that include completing another marathon….but today I hope to be able to walk 2 1/2 miles in the next few weeks.
  3. Lose Weight- The goal here is to reach a weight that puts my BMI in the right zone, allows me to walk and run with little or no pain in my knees and I can wear clothing sizes I have not looked at in years.  Though I have listed this as a separate prescription it goes hand in hand with #2 and #4- [exercise and diet] I also got  nice head start with the 100 pound fluid loss , reduce stress on knees and body and allow me to keep moving. I recently started using a Heart rate monitor(I will write about using it later).
  4. Diet- The dietary recommendations were simple….NO SALT….NO SALT…NO SALT with a secondary focus on limiting fluids to 64 oz a day and a final focus on eating a low fat, low sugar diet with a focus on veggies and fruits and whole grains. I have just started on a specific popular program for weight loss and heart health and will write about it later.                                 AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST
  5. CARDIOVERSION TREATMENT -Cardioversion is a medical procedure done to restore a normal heart rhythm for people who have certain types of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias). Cardioversion is most often done by sending electric shocks to your heart through electrodes placed on your chest. This may also be accomplished with medicines. This treatment will take place this week and i an eager for the results. I am curious how my fitness activities will feel when my heart is beating in a normal fashion.  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/PreventionTreatmentofArrhythmia/Cardioversion_UCM_447318_Article.jsp#.WT1lTozyuM8

 

@martyroddy

 

ASPARAGUS- Joyful little tasty surprises from the ground June 6, 2017

It is the heart of Farmers Market season, and in Virginia the good as gold crop in the early season is always asparagus. The delicious sprouts clean out of the for,early cold ground to feed us with delicious, tender goodness. Thy have a short season but it is so delicious. 

Growing asparagus is also rewarding if you have the patience to wait for them to grow, season and develop over a 2 year prep period.

The following is one of many recipes I use to enjoy these tasty surprises.
INGREDIENTS
2 cups chickpeas soaked 6 hours, cooked over medium heat for 1 1-2

Fresh thyme  and freshly ground pepper

1 pound asparagus, tough ends removed

 3 tablespoons extra virgin- cocunut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced ( or more to taste)

Juice and zest 1 lemon

1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
DIRECTIONS
Soak and cook beans , can add onions garlic, pepper when cooking.

 Blanch asparagus in pot ,for 1 minute,rinse under cold water.transfer to ice.

 Drain beans , shake off excess water. Make sur  asparagus is dry

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Swirl in oil, then add garlic and beans and season.

 Cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is softened, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer beans to a plate with a slotted spoon. Let skillet cool slightly, then whisk lemon juice into oil in skillet; season with salt and pepper. (Add more oil if dressing is too tart.) Add asparagus; toss to coat with dressing.

Combine almonds and lemon zest in a small bowl. Transfer asparagus to a platter, top with beans, and drizzle remaining dressing in skillet over top. Sprinkle with almond-zest mixture and serve.