From the Couch to the Pavement – A Plan to Get You Moving

Get Moving — What are you waiting for?

We all know exercise is good for us, but about 80 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity. What steps have you taken to live a more active life? Are you sitting on the couch waiting for someone to motivate you to get up?  Do you tell yourself, “Tomorrow I’m going to get healthy”? Or is it more like, “I wish I could fit into the clothes I love, but I don’t know how to make that happen?” We’ve all heard “It’s never too late!” or “Anyone can do it.” And guess what? It’s true! If you don’t know where to start, don’t know how to fit in fitness or feel overwhelmed with life’s daily tasks, take heart! We’re here to help you make a plan to change your habits, and improve your health, your heart and your waistline.

People give many reasons for not making their health a priority. Do any of these excuses sound like things you’d say?

Address Your Obstacles

  • “I’m so busy. I just don’t have time!” Many Americans live with a packed schedule. You can make your health a priority over life’s other demands. Even our nation’s president sets aside time to exercise! You don’t have to do your whole workout all at once. Get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to take a brisk walk, or tack on an extra 30 minutes in the afternoon or evening to raise your heart rate with strength training. You can exercise in two or three 10-15 minute blocks and still benefit! Try our top 10 tips to get more exercise!
  • “I can’t afford a gym membership.” Walking is free! If it’s cold or rainy, head to one of the many shopping malls that open their doors early for walkers and joggers. Sometimes gyms run specials. Watch for these at the beginning or end of the year. Or consider buying some workout DVDs or borrowing them from the library. You can even download exercise podcasts. Whatever you choose, find a way to start moving! Get started with these tips for long-term success.
  • “I got bored with my workout routine.” Try something new! There are so many ways to get active. Try tennis with some friends, soccer with your kids or even just switching from yoga to pilates. Your body will respond to the change, and you might notice firmer muscles or extra pounds melting off. Regardless, variety helps you stay more invested in living an active life. Here are some easy tips to get active.
  • “I feel too tired after a workout.” Chronic fatigue with exertion can signal a problem, but if your healthcare provider clears you for exercise, you may just need to pace yourself better. Walk before trying to jog. You may want to consider other energy-boosting plans, too.
    • Are you pacing yourself and keeping your heart rate at the right level?
    • Are you getting enough sleep at night?
    • Are you eating food that fuels your body, or are you eating too much food that your body can’t use?
  • “I don’t like working out alone.” This is a common complaint that’s easy to fix. Find a buddy! Get a walking partner or introduce yourself to someone at the gym, join a team or a walking group, find a neighbor to walk with or exercise with your family. When you exercise in pairs, it’s easier to hold each other accountable – especially on those cold, rainy days! You can also listen to audiobooks or your favorite music on days when no one is available to join you.
  • “I’m too young” or “I’m too old.” Neither excuse is true. When you’re in your 20s and 30s, it’s important to regulate your body’s metabolism, strengthen your heart and prevent diseases. When you’re older, exercise plays a vital role in keeping you healthy and strong. Several studies document how regular exercise improves quality of life during the aging process. So if you’re exercising when you’re in your 80s, you just might feel like you’re in your 70’s! Learn more about preventing heart disease at any age.
  • “I’m new to exercise,” or “I’m overweight and I don’t know where to start.” Is this you? It’s easy to use these excuses as mental roadblocks to success. Don’t let them stop you. Everyone needs to start somewhere.

Determine Your Starting Place

Here are some steps to help get you started.

  • Assess yourself. Realistically, what can you do?

    There’s no good excuse for denying yourself a healthier life!

    • Can you walk a mile? How long does it take you?
    • Can you continue to walk at a brisk pace for 20 minutes? For 30 minutes?
    • Can you swim one lap?
    • How many push-ups can you do? 
    • Can you bend down and touch your toes?

      Your starting point is always based on what you can do! Try tracking your activity and look at it as a place to start and build up more as you are able. Use our online Heart360 tracker or a printable activity tracker.

  • Add on gradually. Gradually increase your workouts by setting goals. If you can walk 1 ½ miles in 30 minutes, your pace is three miles an hour. You can train your heart to handle a faster-paced walk using intervals. For example, every five minutes, try pushing yourself to walk one minute at a faster pace. Before you know it, the faster pace will be your new normal. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week (brisk walking, for example). Cardio exercise burns calories and benefits your heart and lungs. Strength training with weights or resistance bands is also recommended two to three times a week. Strength training builds muscle which, in turn, burns fat and helps your muscles and joints stay healthy for a long, physically active life. A combination of these two types of exercise is important for good health.
  • Many reliable resources are available to help you get started. Books, DVDs, podcasts and personal trainers are a few examples.

Are you still sitting on the couch? Put on your shoes and move your body! Turn on your favorite music and dance. Today is the day to start on the road to better health. Remember, it’s OK to start slowly and build up to your goal.

Strawberry-Lemonade Italian Ice

This fruit-centric, healthy dessert is a great frozen treat that can be made without the use of an ice cream machine.  


1 1/2 lb ripe strawberries (stemmed, halved)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
5 cups ice


1. Trim and remove the stem from each strawberry; cut each one in half. Add strawberries into the bowl of a food processor or a powerful blender.
2. In a small bowl, add lemon juice and sugar. Mix together until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add into the food processor or blender; blend until strawberries are pureed.
3. Add in all the ice; puree until mixture is entirely smooth and all the ice has been blended.
4. Pour into a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish and freeze for 30 minutes. Use a spoon to scrape along the edge of the dish, pushing those outer frozen chunks into the middle of the dish. Use back of the spoon to spread Italian ice into an even layer. Freeze another 30 minutes and repeat process. Lastly, freeze for 1 more hour.
5. Remove from freezer and use a spoon to scoop Italian ice into cups to serve.

Copyright © 2017 American Heart Association

Staying Hydrated is Staying Healthy

 When the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is important whether you’re playing sports, traveling or just sitting in the sun.

And it’s critical for your heart health.

Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently.

“If you’re well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard,” said John Batson, M.D, a sports medicine physician with Lowcountry Spine & Sport in Hilton Head Island, S.C., and an American Heart Association volunteer.

Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.

How much water do you need?

What does being well hydrated mean? The amount of water a person needs depends on climatic conditions, clothing worn and exercise intensity and duration, Batson said.

A person who perspires heavily will need to drink more than someone who doesn’t. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, may also mean you need to drink more water. People with cystic fibrosis have high concentrations of sodium in their sweat and also need to use caution to avoid dehydration. And some medications can act as diuretics, causing the body to lose more fluid.

Thirst isn’t the best indicator that you need to drink. “If you get thirsty, you’re already dehydrated,” Batson said.

Batson said the easiest thing to do is pay attention to the color of your urine. Pale and clear means you’re well hydrated. If it’s dark, drink more fluids.

If you want to know exactly how much fluid you need, Batson recommends weighing yourself before and after exercise, to see how much you’ve lost through perspiration. It’s a particular good guide for athletes training in the hot summer months.

“For every pound of sweat you lose, that’s a pint of water you’ll need to replenish,” Batson said, adding that it’s not unusual for a high school football player, wearing pads and running through drills, to lose 5 pounds or more of sweat during a summer practice.

Not sweating during vigorous physical activity can be a red flag that you’re dehydrated to the point of developing heat exhaustion.

Water is best.

For most people, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated. Sources of water also include foods, such fruits and vegetables which contain a high percentage of water. Sports drinks with electrolytes, may be useful for people doing high intensity, vigorous exercise in very hot weather, though they tend to be high in added sugars and calories.

“It’s healthier to drink water while you’re exercising, and then when you’re done, eat a healthy snack like orange slices, bananas or a small handful of unsalted nuts ,” Batson said.

He cautioned against fruit juices or sugary drinks, such as soda. “They can be hard on your stomach if you’re dehydrated,” he said.

It’s also best to avoid drinks containing caffeine, which acts as a diuretic and causes you to lose more fluids.

Batson says drinking water before you exercise or go out into the sun is an important first step.

“Drinking water before is much more important,” he said. “Otherwise, you’re playing catch-up and your heart is straining.”

Not just for athletes or exercise.

Hydration isn’t just important during physical activity. Sitting in the sun on a hot or humid day, even if you aren’t exercising, can also cause your body to need more fluids. 

People who have a heart condition, are older than 50 or overweight may also have to take extra precautions.

It’s also a good thing to keep tabs on your hydration if you’re traveling.

“You might sweat differently if you’re in a different climate,” Batson said.

article from american heart association 

Tips for exercising in the Heat

Here are just a few tips to help with exercising while out in the heat.

1. Timing is key: Try to avoid exercising outside in the early afternoon. It’s usually hottest between noon and 3 p.m.

2. Hydrate: Drink water before, during and after physical activity, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Bring a bottle of water with you, or plan water stops along your route.

3. Dress for success: Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes. Moisture-wicking fabric can also be a big help. Protect yourself from the sun with sunglasses, a hat or visor and plenty of sweat-resistant sunscreen.

4. Listen to your body: Take frequent breaks in the shade, and drink water before you’re thirsty. Allow yourself time to adapt to the heat — some experts say that this can take about 4-14 days. You may not be able to work out as long or as hard as usual when it’s very hot.

5. Doctor’s orders: Check with your healthcare professional before starting an exercise routine or moving your workout outdoors if you have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, other chronic disease or any medical concerns. Certain medications like beta blockers, ace receptor blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and diuretics can exaggerate the body’s response to heat.

6. Buddy up: If you can, work out with a partner for safety … and fun!


Full article from American Heart Association 

When is the best time of day to work out?

two people running  Trying to find the best time for exercise? The truth is, it’s personal! Follow these tips to figure out what fitness routine works best for you.

 Dawn, dusk or dead of night— when’s the best time to work out? Well, that depends on when’s the best time for you, because the benefits of physical activity depend upon how consistent you are.

Learn the signs of Heatstroke

“While heatstroke contains the word stroke and both are potentially life-threatening medical emergencies, stroke and heatstroke are not the same condition,” said, Rani Whitfield, M.D., family practitioner and American Stroke Association spokesperson.

Heatstroke, sometimes called sunstroke, occurs when core body temperature rises to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit and organs can’t function properly.

A stroke, however, occurs when a blood vessel to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. The disruption of blood and oxygen to the brain causes brain cells to die.

“Heatstroke is brought on by external environmental factors, usually being outside or exercising outside on very hot days,” Whitfield said. “Some people may be more susceptible to heatstroke due to age, weight, medical history, or medications they are taking. It’s important to know your individual risk for heatstroke just as you do for stroke.”

Certain heart medications like beta blockers, ace receptor blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and diuretics, which deplete the body of sodium, can exaggerate the body’s response to heat.

“Heatstroke is life-threatening. If you suspect someone is suffering from heatstroke, you should immediately try to cool them down and call 9-1-1,” Whitfield said. “Take them out of the sun, have them drink a cool, nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine, preferably water, and fan them with cool air.”

If someone is exhibiting stroke warning signs, bystanders should call 9-1-1 immediately and let the operator know it may be a stroke.

“Stroke patients who arrive at the hospital by ambulance not only have a greater chance of living through the stroke, but also have a greater chance of preserving independence and having a full recovery,” Whitfield said.

Symptoms of stroke:

  • Facial Drooping
  • Arm Weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Additional signs of stroke include sudden trouble seeing, dizziness, confusion, severe headache, or weakness on one side of the body.

If any of these signs are present, you should call 9-1-1 immediately. The American Stroke Association teaches the acronym F.A.S.T. for stroke: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1.

Symptoms of heatstroke:

  • Body temperature of 104 F or greater
  • Lack of sweating. Skin will feel hot and dry, unless heatstroke is cause by exercise.
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Flushed/red skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Headache
  • Confusion and/or unconsciousness
  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Strong and rapid pulse

Take steps to cool down and get medical attention immediately if someone is experiencing any signs of heatstroke.

Original post from American Heart Association here.

Filet Mignon with Blueberry-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

1½ teaspoons canola oil
½ small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
¼ cup bourbon
1 cup fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries
¼ cup ketchup
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1½ teaspoons molasses
Pinch of ground allspice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 pound filet mignon, 1½ to 2 inches thick, trimmed and cut into 4 portion



To prepare sauce: Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and just starting to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add bourbon, increase heat to high and bring to a boil; cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in blueberries, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses and allspice; return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat grill to high.

Combine thyme, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture on all sides of steaks. Grill the steaks 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before serving with the sauce.

Recipe  Carolyn Malcoun


Country Potato Salad


2 pounds small potatoes, preferably heirloom
1 cup chopped celery
2 ounces smoked ham, sliced into strips
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, or scallions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, or dill
¾ cup nonfat buttermilk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 large hard-boiled eggs, (see Tip), peeled and coarsely chopped




1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, partially covered, until just tender, 12 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Drain and let cool for about 15 minutes.

2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, taste a bit of potato skin—if it’s bitter or tough, peel the potatoes. Otherwise, leave the skins on. Cut the potatoes into bite-size pieces and put them in a large salad bowl.

3. Add celery, ham, parsley, chives (or scallions) and mint (or dill) to the potatoes. Toss to combine. Add buttermilk, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Gently stir in chopped egg. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.

Tip: To hard-boil eggs: Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook at the barest simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, pour out hot water and cover the eggs with cold water. Let stand until cool enough to handle before peeling.

© 2020 Alpine Cardiology, All Rights Reserved