For a healthy heart eat a rainbow every day!

Fiber, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, high nutrients, low-calorie, no artificial flavors or colors, natural sugars are part of a heart healthy diet and all easily available in a diet rich in colorful vegetables. If it is hard to get your servings of vegetables per day consider smoothies, chopping into small pieces adding small amounts to every meal you make. Ask yourself are you getting 4 1/2 cups a day of vegetables? Most will say no. Try new vegetables, search the internet for recipes.

Urgent need for Physical Activity

The chief cause of obesity is physical inactivity, which is rapidly spreading from North America to the rest of the world. About 31% of the world’s adults, or about 1.5 billion people, are almost completely sedentary, meaning that they do not meet the minimum recommendation of 150 minutes of walking or other moderate activity per week, or about 20 minutes a day.

Teenagers are faring even worse. More than 80 percent of young people ages 13 to 15 worldwide are not getting the hour a day of vigorous exercise recommended for their age group.

Unsurprisingly, North America leads the world in not exercising, with 43.3 percent of Americans not reaching the low recommended threshold. But the world is catching up or, rather, joining us in sitting down. More than 34 percent of Europeans are inactive, 30 percent of Russians, ditto in the Middle East, and about 27 percent of Africans are sedentary.

Those of us that want to exercise regularly must realize that we are working against cultural forces. Stay focused on the best way to live for yourself.

How balanced is your life?

 No one expects you to be perfect other than yourself. As often heard we are our own worse critic. However when you reflect on your family think about the wellness wheel. If you were to assess your family how much do you give to each of these domains. For many their wheel isn’t round as they devote more time and energy to certain areas such as work, then tend to neglect things like the physical and emotional health. How balanced is your wheel?

Does your family devote time to physical exercise? Do you address the emotional components? A great time to do this is at a family meal. Discuss the struggles, the challenges incurred during the day.

 “Wellness is first and foremost a choice to assume responsibility for the quality of your life. It begins with a conscious decision to shape a healthy lifestyle. Wellness is a mindset, a predisposition to adopt a series of key principles in varied life areas that lead to high levels of well-being and life satisfaction.

A consequence of this focus is that a wellness mindset will protect you against temptations to blame someone else, make excuses, shirk accountability, or collapse in the face of adversity.

Pushing Yourself and Family

The principle is called Overload

To improve fitness one has to push beyond the normal activity in order to improve Vigorous activity even in small amounts improves overall health. Now for  sedentary people some doing anything will be of benefit, becomes something is better than nothing. For others who are active to improve physical fitness you have to push to the edge of the comfort zone. Important the no pain no gain rule does not apply! 

 Here are a few tips from the CDC on how to measure intensity. 

How do I know if my child’s aerobic activity is moderate- or vigorous-intensity?

Here are two ways to think about moderate- and vigorous-intensity:
  1. As a rule of thumb, on a scale of 0 to 10, where sitting is a 0 and the highest level of activity is a 10, moderate-intensity activity is a 5 or 6. When your son does moderate-intensity activity, his heart will beat faster than normal and he will breathe harder than normal. Vigorous-intensity activity is a level 7 or 8. When your son does vigorous-intensity activity, his heart will beat much faster than normal and he will breathe much harder than normal.
  2. Another way to judge intensity is to think about the activity your child is doing and compare it to the average child. What amount of intensity would the average child use? For example, when your daughter walks to school with friends each morning, she’s probably doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity. But while she is at school, when she runs, or chases others by playing tag during recess, she’s probably doing vigorous-intensity activity. 

Measuring Physical Activity Intensity

Here are some ways to understand and measure the intensity of aerobic activity: relative intensity and absolute intensity.

Relative Intensity

The level of effort required by a person to do an activity. When using relative intensity, people pay attention to how physical activity affects their heart rate and breathing.

The talk test is a simple way to measure relative intensity. As a rule of thumb, if you’re doing moderate-intensity activity you can talk, but not sing, during the activity. If you’re doing vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Absolute Intensity

The amount of energy used by the body per minute of activity. The table below lists examples of activities classified as moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity based upon the amount of energy used by the body while doing the activity.