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Cardio Training at the Gym July 23, 2017

Now that the Heart Failure diagnosis has been "lived with" for a few months and physical activity and exercise has been adjusted to live with AND overcome the challenge.

Now the most simple exercise is walking and later running BUT with funny knees I must do a variety of cardio/ aerobic exercises to pump the blood, build up the heart and lungs and rebuild the rest of my body. I joined a gym in my neighborhood that offers a few benefits…in this order:

  1. Concept 2 Rowing machine
  2. Reasonable price
  3. 24 hour access

I posted a video of the Cybex ArcTrainer, it is the first "elliptical " cardio machine I could use. It has a proper range of motion for my 6 foot 8 inch body, and long monkey arms.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r58nxtqD_zQ&feature=share

I have gotten to,the point where I can go 20 minutes ion the machine but I am loving it and will push until I can go,30-45 minutes. I am enjoying the ArcTrainer almost as much as I enjoy the Concept2 Rower. I also mix in walking at home around my neighborhood And when necessary on the treadmill at the gym.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YfAjjVsWEI&feature=share

I continue to workout, get strong and lose weight. I have a distance to go to reach my target weight (weight freshman year in High school) and it is a good ways still to go BUT I have lost over 100 pounds to date,
My food plan is working and might be do-able for he long term.

@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

 

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

 

HEART FAILURE – OK Now Whats for Dinner? May 30, 2017

The diagnosis of heart failure is/was shocking but additional information and research revealed that :

  • it is not a death sentence
  • it can be lived with and
  • it can be overcome with diet and exercise

Now when I arrived at the hospital I could not walk 20 meters without being out of breath, the diagnosis was actually a relief before it was a shock.  I now knew why I felt so bad. AND the medical team made it clear that I  could overcome and even thrive.

A lifestyle change that includes adjustments in diet and an increase in exercise. The diet will be a lifestyle change “forever” not just temporarily reducing calories and  weight for now. It has been fun, learning some new foods and recipes.

There are 2 authors/physicians and cardiac experts that i have read about before and have read A LOT about recently.  Drs. Dean Ornish and John McDougall have been proponents of very low fat, plant-based/plant focused diets.

Dr.Ornish published a great book, EAT MORE, WEIGH LESS  and it is loaded with great recipes as well as tremendous common sense information with evidence that such a diet improves and even heals heart damage.

Dr.McDougall has 2 “cornerstone books” , MCDOUGALL PROGRAM FOR MAXIMUM WEIGHT LOSS and THE STARCH SOLUTION. Both focus on plant-based, low/no fat diet choices much like Dr.Ornish.

Where to find these guys?  search the web or go to:

  1. http://www.ornish.com
  2. http://www.drmcdougall.com

BUT WHAT CAN WE EAT?

  • Beans- dried or canned (choose salt-free) – loaded with fiber and protein
  • Garlic – eat, add to foods and take as supplement
  • Spinach and Dark,leafy greens
  • nuts and seeds – good fats and loaded with minerals and protein (almonds,walnuts, brazils, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • salmon- great omega fats as well as protein
  • soy protein- organic tofu, tempeh, miso , edamame beans
  • whole grains
  • fresh fruits and vegetables

A future post may include information on specific nutrients required for heart failure patients( magnesium, potassium, good fats).

 

 

@martyroddy

 

 

 

What  a Heart Failure ? May 26, 2017

Now that I am dealing with, treating this diagnosis and was surprised by it when I went to the hospital in March. Initially I was relieved to hear a diagnosis and a couple of doctors and nurses tell me that it can be overcome.   

They gave me that hope without any deep information nor explanations. Eventually a few folks from Social work, social service offices brought information about Heart Failure. It include a cursory description of what it was and a little bit how it gets started. The information also had suggestions for living with it and treating it.

  • Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood  to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen.      
  • the heart can’t keep up with its workload.      
  • The heart is a muscle that pumps blood to the other organs of the body, but “Heart Failure” doesn’t mean the heart has stopped working. It means it can’t pump properly

Certain behaviors can lead to heart failure:

  • Eating foods that are high in salt, fat, and cholesterol 
  •  getting enough physical activity. 
  • Being overweight

I found a few videos with some basic info.

– this first one was interesting as I started my journey with symptoms of bronchitis and ended up in the Emergency room. Unable to breathe with A FIB AND heart failure.

-The following has a few useful tips for dealing with and living with heart failure.

@martyroddy

 

Getting close to ACTUAL MILEAGE with My Workouts/Walks May 1, 2017

This is a little bit of fun with the words as I continue my journey to recovery from heart failure and creation of a fit and healthy body. Walks are increasing to 5 per week and time/ distance is also growing.

The play with the title is the fact that I am about to walk a mile. I have been mixing up walks of .25, .55 and up to .79 miles so far. One day this week I should cross the mile marker in a workout.  This will also be the walk of longest duration. Future plans include daily walks alternating 30-40 minutes with workouts of 50-70 minutes. As I get more fit, lose the weight and strengthen my knees I hope to add miles and once a week go,for a personal best distance and eventually…..RUNNING. 

Break out new runners and get going…Of course I am walking in these and will run in them as well.

I have also felt and increase in strength for my legs as I have been doing a few sets of squats . I will add step ups, and lunges. 

I recorded a video during a recent workout….​

Now to,get back to work and have a good eating day.
@martyroddy

 

Looking into Starting a Fitness Club for Heart Patients April 6, 2017

I have been walking and exercising and getting stronger at a slow and steady pace since my diagnosis with heart failure and Ateial fibrillation . With the medicines I have also lost significant weight, which I hope to keep,off with healthy lifestyle ( exercise and diet). 

The best thing about the current weight loss is of course easier breathing but a secondary benefit is the reduced stress on my legs when I go for a walk and eventually runs .  My knees have some damage from other sports and the loss of weight gives me a chance, an opportunity to workout and get fit and heal the heart, knees and body.

I have been part of running and training groups in the past and the group “pressure” and camaraderie made for a great dynamic. Therefore I thought a group of like minded ( and body) cardiac-heart Patients could support, push and help each other reach physical goals.  The goals include weight loss, restoring heart function , life extension and possibly overcoming the dis-ease with exercise and diet.

There might be some medical guidance needed but exch member will also be responsible for their own medical needs and controls.

I have sent an invite out with Craigslist and will see where and how,this goes.
@martyroddy