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Your Heart and Exercise

Alpine Cardiology seniors exercising in swimming pool




Your doctor will tell you what exercise is best for you that will help your heart and are safe for you. They will also advise you on things to watch for and what you should do if you experience heart symptoms.

Your Heart and Exercise

Alpine Cardiology senior athletes exercising on step platforms at gymGetting regular exercise is a major step toward good heart health. Physical activity can strengthen the heart muscle, manage blood pressure, high blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It is also an effective way of keeping your weight under control.

Exercise is important whether you have heart disease or want to prevent it. The activity doesn’t have to be hard. Any activity that raises your heart rate can help your heart. Do an activity at a level that is right for you and that you enjoy.

Moderate Level

If you choose moderate activity, aim for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Moderate activity would include brisk walking, brisk cycling, or dancing. Even daily chores that raise your heart can be included. You want your heart beating faster.

Vigorous Level

Alpine Cardiology senior cyclistIf you choose vigorous activity, aim for 25 minutes a day, 3 days a week. Experts recommend at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Vigorous activity would include jogging, fast cycling, or cross-country skiing. You breathe more rapidly and heart beats much faster with vigorous activity.

Any Movement is Good for your Heart

Any activity is better than none. If you can’t fit in one 30-minute walk, try a few 5 or 10-minute walks instead. Brief bouts of activity do offer benefit. Being active for short periods of time during the day add and can provide health benefits.

Sitting too much can have a negative impact on your health. The more hours you sit each day, the higher your risk of metabolic problems. Remember that your goal is to make regular physical activity a part of your heart healthy lifestyle.


The Best Exercises to Strengthen your Heart

Talk with your health care team about which exercises are best for you. Along with advice from your doctor you may consider working with a physical therapist or trainer. They can show you proper exercise strategies to reduce fatigue and the possibility of injury from over doing it. You may also want to talk to your doctor to see if you may be eligible for a formal cardiac rehabilitation program.

Different types of exercise are needed to provide complete fitness. Aerobic exercise and resistance training are the most important for heart health. Flexibility may not contribute directly to heart health; it serves an important role in providing a good foundation for participating in aerobic and strength building activities more effectively.

Aerobic Exercise

Alpine Cardiology Senior couple cross-country skiing.Aerobic exercise improves circulation, and this helps in lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Increasing your overall aerobic fitness will help with how well your heart pumps and delivers oxygen to your body. Aerobic exercise also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, if you already live with diabetes, it can help you control your blood glucose.

Aerobic Exercise includes walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis, jumping rope, mowing the lawn. You can choose the level previously mentioned that is right for you. Regardless of whether you choose a slower or faster pace, the goal is to get your heart pumping.

Resistance/Strength Training

Alpine Cardiology Senior people with trainer using resistance band doing exercises at the gymResistance or strength training may improve your strength and help your muscles work together better. This can make daily activities easer and build muscle and burn fat. It may also help with flexibility and stability (balance).

Research show that a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance work may help raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

You should try for at least 2 nonconsecutive days per week of resistance/strength training. You may choose to work with free weights (such as hand weights, dumbbells, or barbells), or on weight machines. Resistance band are effective way to build strength with many exercises able to perform in a sitting position. Body resistance exercises such as push-ups, squats and chin-ups can be added as well.

Stretching, Flexibility and Balance

Alpine Cardiology senior woman stretching at homeStretching before exercise is important to warm up your muscles and heart. This benefits musculoskeletal health which helps you stay flexible and free from joint pain. Stretching may also help with cramping and other muscular issues. Flexibility is a critical part of being able to maintain aerobic exercise and resistance training.

Flexibility and balance exercises help maintain stability and prevent falls as well.

Talk to your doctor to see if she recommends basic stretches you can do at home. You can also look for DVDs or YouTube videos to follow. Tai Chi and Yoga are great for your heart health and will help you strengthen you muscles and increase flexibility.

Other Benefits of Regular Exercise

Being active does more than just keep your heart healthy. It keeps your body and mind health too.

Alpine Cardiology Senior woman exercising with a hula hoopThe added benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Mental well-being
  •  Stress relief
  • Increased bone strengths (if you are doing weight bearing exercises)
  • Control blood sugar
  • Lose or control you weight
  • Increase energy
  • Help you sleep better

Alpine Cardiology Senior drinking water after exercisingAdditional Recommendations

  • Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise or physical activity.
  • Start slowly and at a level you are comfortable with.
  • If you feel tired or have any heart symptoms, stop, and rest.
  • Wear comfortable clothing for the activity you are doing.
  • During warmer weather exercise in the morning or evening when exercising outside.
  • In colder weather cover your nose and mouth when exercising outside
  • If you prefer inside, go to a gym, and use the treadmills or walk inside a mall.
  • Drink plenty of water.

It is Never too Late to Start

Alpine Cardiology smiling senior sportsman exercising with dumbbell at gymIt is never too late to make physical activity part of your life. If you are healthy, it can help you keep your heart as healthy as possible. If you have had a heart attack or stroke, being active is very important to help prevent another one.

Regular activity might also help your heart if you do have a heart attack. It may increase the number of smaller blood vessels that connect different coronary arteries. These are called collateral blood vessels. If one of the major coronary arteries is suddenly blocked, these collateral blood vessels serve as an alternate route to supply blood to the portion of the heart muscle that is threatened by a heart attack. This gives you time to seek medical attention and increases your chance of surviving.

Talk to your Doctor

Tell your doctor if you are having trouble making activity part of your daily life. She may refer you to someone who specializes in helping people make lifestyle changes. If you have been exercising and find that you are not able to as much as you used to let your health care team know.

Studies indicate that pairing a healthy diet with regular exercise is the best way not only to prevent heart disease, but to reverse some risk factors. Talk to your doctor to about activities and diet that will increase your heart health.

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack


If you think you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack – DO NOT WAIT, CALL 911!

Symptoms may be obvious or more subtle, either way take them seriously and get medical care.

We tend to believe that a heart attack is a dramatic, chest-clutching event but heart attacks can begin with more subtle symptoms. People have described it as a “discomfort” but not painful.

Downplaying your symptoms or thinking it is just indigestion or anxiety can be deadly. Do not “tough it out” for more than five minutes. Call 911 immediately.

What is a Heart Attack?

A blockage most often is a build up of fat, cholesterol and other substances which form a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart. The buildup can block the flow of blood to the heart and a heart attack can occur.

Sometimes, a plaque can rupture and form a clot that blocks blood flow. The interrupted flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle.

Typical Heart Attack Symptoms

Alpine Cardiology Senior man having heart attack wife calling 911If you experience any of these heart attack warning signs do not wait to get help. Some heart attacks may be sudden and intense. But most will start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Call 911 if you experience any of these symptoms:

Chest Discomfort or pain

A tight ache, pressure, fullness or squeezing in your chest. This may come and go.

Upper body pain

A pain or discomfort that may spread beyond your chest. Areas include shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth, or jaw. You may have these symptoms WITHOUT any chest discomfort.

Stomach pain

Often mistaken for heartburn, the pain may extend down towards your abdominal area.

Shortness of breath

You may try to take in deep breaths or pant. This often occurs without any chest discomfort or before chest discomfort occurs.

Alpine Cardiology - Couple walking in park


Sometimes you may think you are having a panic attack or feel a sense of doom for no apparent reason.


You may feel dizzy or feel like you may pass out.


Suddenly breaking out in a sweat with cold clammy skin.

Nausea and vomiting

Feeling sick to your stomach or vomiting may occur.

Heart Palpitations

You may become very aware that your heart is beat or feel as if your heart is skipping beats.

Women may have different symptoms

Alpine Cardiology - Cardiologist listening to woman's heartThe most common heart attack symptom for women 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, back pain, or jaw pain. May women have heart attack symptoms without chest pain.

  • Pain in the neck, back, shoulders or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abdominal pain or “heartburn”
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Unusual or unexplained fatigue, possibly for days

Older Adults and People with diabetes

Older adults and people with diabetes may have no or very mild symptoms of a heart attack. Never dismiss any heart attack symptom, even if they don’t seem serious. Seek immediate medical care.

Symptoms May Vary

Heart attacks do not present with the same symptoms or severity of symptoms. Some have mild pain while others have more severe pain. Some have no symptoms at all, the first sign may be sudden cardiac arrest. The signs and symptoms you have, the greater the chance you are having a heart attack.

Many people may have warning signs and symptoms hours, days, or weeks in advance. A heart attack can also strike suddenly. The earliest warning may be a recurrent chest pain or pressure that occurs with activity and is relieved by rest. This may be caused by a temporary decrease in blood flow to the heart.

When to Seek Medical Care

Alpine Cardiology Calling 911 and checking for pulseImmediately! Do not wait too long because you don’t recognize the important signs and symptoms.

Call 911

If you think you are having a heart attack, don’t wait. Immediately dial 911 (or your local emergency number). If you don’t have access to emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital. Drive yourself only if there are no other options.

Take nitroglycerin

ONLY if it is prescribed to you by your doctor. Take it as instructed while awaiting emergency help.

Take an aspirin

ONLY if recommended by your doctor or emergency medical personnel. Taking an aspirin during a heart attack could reduce heart damage by helping to keep your blood from clotting. Aspirin can interact with other medications, so important to only take if instructed to do so. Do NOT delay calling 911 to take an aspirin, call for help first.

What to do for Someone having a Heart Attack

First, call 911 or emergency medical help. After calling for help, check to see if they are breathing or have a pulse. If a person isn’t breathing or doesn’t have a pulse, then you should begin CPR

It is recommended performing only chest compressions if you haven’t been trained in CPR. If you have been trained in CPR you can go on to opening the airway and rescue breathing.

Minutes Matter – Fast Action Can Save Lives

Alpine Cardiology EMS caring for heart attack patientCalling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.

An emergency medical services team will begin treatment when they arrive. This means that treatment could begin up to an hour sooner than arriving by car to the hospital. Plus, patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital.

Talk to your Health Care Team

If you would like more information on the warning signs of a heart attack and your risks talk to your health care provider. Dr. Bobish and her team want you to be heart healthy, talk to them. They know your health history and are one of your best resources to understand your risks and way to prevent a heart attack.

Salt is NOT the only seasoning!

We all remember being in the kitchen as a child and Mom or Grandma tasting something on the stove. It seems they always said, needs more salt. Why is salt our go to seasoning to add to food?

Salt is used as a flavor improver and can affect other flavors such as sweet and bitter. When small amounts are used it will reduce bitterness and increase sweet. There is a role for small amounts of salt in a heart healthy diet, you just have to make sure your daily intake from all sources (processed foods, ready-made products, etc.) are within your doctor’s recommended range.

There are many great alternatives to adding salt while cooking or at the table. Salt is not the only thing that improves flavor. Herbs and spices can liven up your food and add variety, plus they are better for your heart health than salt.

Below we will offer some common herbs and spices that are easily found fresh in most grocery store produce section and in the spice aisle.


A popular herb with a hint of sweetness and a little spiciness. A member of the mint family, basil has incredible flavor with a floral aroma. Fresh basil leaves are delicate, and it is best to tear it or use a sharp knife.

Basil can be used during the cooking process or added to a dish right before serving. Basil pairs well with tomatoes and tomato based dishes. It will also add great flavor to vegetables, fruit, eggs, chicken, and fish dishes. You can use basil along with garlic, balsamic vinegar, mint, lemon, and oregano for different flavor combinations.

One of the most well-known dishes with basil is the Caprese Salad. Layer basil leaves over tomato slices and mozzarella cheese and lightly drizzle with olive oil for a delightful summer salad.


Mint is a bright and refreshing herb that works in sweet and savory dishes. It is similar to basil and can be prepared the same way.

Mint is great in salads, pasta, couscous and tasty with carrots, peas, and broad beans.
For simple refreshing snack chop up melon and drizzle the fruit with a mixture of mint and low-fat vanilla yogurt.


Oregano is a popular herb in Greek, Italian, Mediterranean, and Latin American cooking. It has an earthy, aromatic and slightly bitter taste.

Oregano can be used in marinades for meats, poultry, and seafood. Use in egg dishes, breads casseroles and sauces. It pairs well with basil, lemon, or mint in marinades, on vegetables or sauces.

Try sprinkling a little oregano on hamburger, chicken or baked potato add to soups and sauces for extra flavor.


Rosemary is an aromatic herb with a woodsy and lemony flavor. Use sparingly, it can overpower other flavors.

Rosemary pairs well with soups, stews, and other comfort foods. Whole sprigs baked with poultry or fish adds wonderful flavor. Rosemary if very versatile and can be used with other herbs and spices and in most dishes. Meats, vegetables, sauces and grains all pair well with Rosemary.

Rosemary, garlic, and pepper added to brown rice while cooking adds wonderful flavors, one of our favorite uses for rosemary.


Thyme has a very pronounced and robust taste. It could be described as sweet; however, it shouldn’t be used in desserts.

Thyme is a versatile seasoning to use in cooking. It is a sodium free way to boost flavor in roasted vegetables, meats, soups, stews, and sauces.

Try adding whole sprigs to slow cooked meals and casseroles and remove at the end. Tuck sprigs inside a chicken along with fresh lemon before roasting. Thyme is one of those herbs that can up to long cooking times.


Dill has a strong taste and is often compared to fennel, star anise and celery. Best used fresh if possible and use only the leaves and discard the stems.

While many people associate dill with pickled cucumbers, it is a very versatile herb. It pairs well with chicken and fish dishes, potato salads, noodle, or tomato-based salads.

Add a dill sprig to roasting chicken or fish with a little lemon or lime juice.


Sage is like Rosemary with more lemon and eucalyptus. The flavor can be quite strong making it a good substitute for salt.

Sage is delicious in savory autumn dishes such as roasted squash, sweet potatoes, and sauces. Add it to flavor meats, bean dishes and other grains either on its own or paired with other herbs.

Sage is another herb that does not lose its flavor with long cooking, perfect for adding to a simmering sauce or higher temperature dishes.


Garlic is often associated with Italian dishes but can be used almost on anything. It is a pungent relative to onion and adds tons of sodium free flavor.

You can cut back on salt and the double the amount of garlic in recipes for tomato sauces and marinates. Garlic is great in soups and stir fries.

Garlic is a staple in many households and works with so many herbs and spices. Don’t be afraid to add a little to soups, salads, vegetables, and sauces. A little roasted garlic added to twice baked potatoes, and you will not miss the salt, cheese, or bacon!

Black Pepper

The minute you hear pepper you think salt, but pepper has enough flavor to stand on its own. It does not need salt add depth and flavor to dishes. Almost every household has ground black pepper in the kitchen and most likely in a shaker on the dining table.

Black pepper is a great addition to soups, roasts, pastas, and other savory dishes. Added to eggs, grains, or vegetables. Some people like a little pepper on their watermelon or other fruits. It is worth experimenting with. Adding whole peppercorns to a simmering or roasting dish will add a lot of flavor and look nice when serving the dish by spooning some the roasted peppercorns over it.

Pepper can add a little kick to your dish, best to start with less and add to find your perfect “kick level”. You can also try white pepper, peppercorn mixtures, or pepper alternatives like chili peppers and cayenne peppers for some added spiciness.

The bottom line

Salt has always been the go-to seasoning in most kitchens, but we consume too much of it.

Be mindful of your intake of higher-salt foods like processed meats, canned goods, sauces, soups, and condiments. Choose salt free or reduce sodium when possible. Use the seasonings mentioned in this article to replace added salt in the kitchen and at the table. Use different herbs and spices to take your familiar dishes in a whole new direction. Not only will you discover new flavors, but your heart will thank you.

For more herbs and spices to use instead of salt the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute published this handy guide –  Use-Herbs-and-Spices-Instead-of-Salt.

You and Your Healthcare Provider



For many, sharing person health details with their doctor can be uncomfortable. One of the most import factors in your relationship with your healthcare team is honesty.

In a 2018 study as many 80% of all patients lie or withhold information from their providers. Surprisingly a survey of 300 US adults in 2015 by ZocDoc found that women are more likely to lie or omit information during a doctor’s appointment. The same study showed that respondents over the age 65 avoided raising issues their doctor because they felt it was not serious or worth discussing.

Why patients do not share all health information

Alpine Cardiology - Female doctor with male patient

The 2018 study identified many reasons why a patient may lie or omit health information. The most cited reason was that they did not want to be judged or lectured about their behaviors. They also did not want to hear how bad their behavior/habits were for their health and want their providers to like them. For others they were simply embarrassed about their choices, didn’t want the information in their medical records or not wanting to waste their doctor’s time.

What do patients lie about?

Alpine Cardiology - Female doctor with female patient outsideThe simple answer is just about everything, usually from shame or fear. More common lies or omission are:

• How often they follow or that they didn’t follow their doctor’s instructions
• Medication management
• Diet and exercise
• Mental and emotional state
• Their sex life
• The financial situation and how it may affect their healthcare
• Sharing all their symptoms
• Whether they smoke, have quit smoking and how many cigarettes they smoke a day
• Their alcohol consumption
• Their use of recreational drugs

Some of these may seem unimportant to your health, but all of these things play a vital to your healthcare provider to understand your overall health and risk factors.

Alpine Cardiology - Female doctor with male patient in officeYour habits and hobbies can affect your medical care


They play a big role in your health and can even impact other health risks you may experience. We all know that smoking can lead to numerous health complications and if you doctor knows you smoke, they will make decisions accordingly.

“Bad” habits are not the only things you should share with your doctor. Letting your doctor know if you participate in any type of intense physical activity is important as well.

Your doctor has seen and it all

Alpine Cardiology - doctor holding patient handMost likely your healthcare provider has experience with thousands of patients and most likely anything you say will not surprise or shock them. Your doctor is not there to judge you but to help you. They can’t provide the care you need without having all the information.

Be honest about any of your concerns

If you have concerns about a vaccination, medication, or procedure, talk to your doctor. If you have anxiety about a procedure let them know so they can address those concerns. Your healthcare provider will happily provide explanation about a procedure or information about a treatment plan because the better you understand it, the more likely you are to follow it.

Why honesty is important

Alpine Cardiology - Female doctor with female patient in office

From the information you provide your doctor suggest treatments and procedures. If they are receiving bad information those treatments and procedures may not have the expected outcome.

Research has shown that have good communication with your medical provider will lead to more appropriate medical decisions with better outcomes. When your doctor doesn’t have all the information it makes it very hard, if not impossible for your doctor to properly diagnose and treat you.


Your healthcare provider is your partner not your enemy

Alpine Cardiology - Female doctor with female patient in hospital

Your entire healthcare team wants you to live your happiest and healthiest life, in order for that to happen they need to understand your overall health and habits.

No matter the issue, your doctor can answer your questions and provide additional resources. Being honest starts a conversation which is key to building a relationship to help you live a healthy life.

Remember, Dr. Bobish and her team are here to listen to your concerns and want to provide the best care they can for you. They cannot do that if you are not completely honest with them.


Ready to start your heart-healthy diet?


7 Steps to Eating Healthy

Changing your eating habits can be tough, especially if you are dealing with the stress of medical issues. When we are under stress, we tend to gravitate toward our comfort foods that are not heart heathy. You can eat well and healthy. Understanding which foods, you should eat more of and which foods to limit can help make the change to a healthy diet easier.

Controlling your portion size

Grilled Chicken

Portion control is more than just limiting how much you eat it is about understanding what a serving size (portion) actually is. In today’s world of mega size, super-size and 2 for the price of one, no wonder we struggle to eat healthy.

One of my favorites ways to control my portion size but still feel like I am getting a “full plate” of food is to use smaller plates or bowls. Seems silly, but numerous studies have shown that if our eyes see a full plate, we do not feel deprived and are more likely to be satisfied after one plate.

Read serving sizes and try to follow them. Pasta and rice serving is about the size of a hockey puck. Lean meat should be about the size and thickness of a deck of cards. Being able to judge serving sizes will take practice, use measuring cups, spoons, or a scale until you are confident in serving the right portions.

Add more fruits and vegetables.

Another trick is to fill your plate with low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. Eating more vegetables and fruits may help you cut back on higher calorie foods.
Keep vegetables and fruits washed and cut in your refrigerator. These are perfect to grab when you are craving something sweet or crunchy.

We all know that eating fruit and vegetables are good for us and that they are a good source for vitamins and minerals. Did you know that like other plant-based foods, they contain substances that may help prevent cardiovascular disease?

Choose whole grains

Whole Grain Pasta

Whole grain products can be a good source of fiber and other nutrients. They can also play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. It is easy to increase the amount of whole grains in your heart healthy diet simply by substituting for refined grain products.

If you want to try something new add barley into your diet. Barley contains about three times as much fiber as a serving of oats. It is rich in a soluble fiber known as beta glucan and is recognized for its cholesterol-lowering abilities.

Watch your fat

You know you have to watch how much saturated and trans fat you eat. This is important to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. High cholesterol can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

AvocadoThe 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting saturated fat to less than 10% of total daily calories. To help meet this goal try some simple ways to cut back on saturated and trans fats:

• Trim fat off your meat or chose lean cuts of meat.
• Use less fats when cooking and serving.
• Choose low-fat substitutes when possible. Try low-sodium salsa or low-fat yogurt on your baked potato or sliced whole fruit or low-sugar fruit spread on your toast.
• Check food labels, even those that say reduced fat. Many may contain trans fats. Trans fats may be listed as partially hydrogenated oil on the label.

Sometimes you need a little fat, in those times choose monounsaturated such as olive or canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats found in certain fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds can be a good choice as well. Remember to use sparingly, all types of fat are high in calories.

Try for low-fat protein sources

SalmonLean meats, poultry and fish are great sources of protein. Choose skinless chicken and fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring.
Low-fat dairy and eggs provide good protein as well. Look for lower fat dairy options such as skim milk, low or non-fat yogurt.

Another great source of protein that is low-fat and cholesterol free is legumes. Beans, peas, and lentils are great substitutes for meat and help to reduce your fat and cholesterol intake and increase your fiber intake.

Limit salt

Salt shakerLimiting how much sodium is in your diet is an important part of a heart healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults have no more than 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon) of sodium a day. Ideally, most adults should not exceed 1,500 milligrams daily.

A good practice is to not add salt when you are cooking. Taste your food before adding a little salt. Also experiment with salt substitutes or fresh herbs and spices to add flavor to your dishes.
The biggest culprit of sodium in our diets are canned and processed foods. Eating fresh foods or making your own can help you control the amount of salt in your diet.

If you are using canned foods or prepared meals look for ones with no added salt or reduced sodium. Again, read the labels for the about of sodium per serving.
Meal plan

Plan your heart healthy diet for the week, make a list and stick to the list when shopping. When preparing your meal, make extra servings and freeze them to use on those days when you do not feel like cooking. This may help you avoid reaching for an unhealthy option.

Do not deprive yourself!

Allowing yourself an indulgence every now and then is okay. This may help you stick to your heart healthy diet if you know that an occasional treat will not derail your plan. If indulgence is the EXCEPTION, rather than the rule, things will balance out over the long term. Eating healthy the majority of the time is what is important.

Check with your Medical Provider

As always you should talk with your doctor about a heart healthy diet plan that is right for you.

For more information print our Food to chose and avoid to help you make the right choices.

Bowl of Vegetables

Tips for heart patients in the heat

Seniors with granddaughter walking outdoors. People in summer.


If you are a heart patient, especially if you are older than 50 or overweight, you should take special precautions in the heat.

Healthy Senior Couple Exercising In Garden TogetherBefore starting an exercise routine check with your healthcare professional and discuss any concerns you may have. You also want to talk about the medication you are on. 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.

Whether you are on medications or not, older people should take care in the heat. If you are going to be outside, it is important to drink water even if you do not think you need it. At the point you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Everyone can maintain an active and healthy lifestyle regardless of the temperature outside, just make sure you take the proper precautions.


senior walking exerciseTips for everyone

Ready to brave the heat? It is best to avoid the outdoors in the early afternoon (around noon – 3pm). The sun is usually at its strongest and puts you at a higher risk for heat-related illnesses. Early in the day or evenings are great times to get outside and walk, garden, swim, or any outdoor activities. You can also take advantage of air-conditioned facilities like a mall or indoor track to walk when temperatures soar. Remember the buddy system, exercising with a friend is fun and safer.

More tips for staying comfortable and safe in the heat.


Something many do not think of is that we sweat a lot in our shoes. You want well-ventilated shoes and socks that repel perspiration. Keeping your feet comfortable in the heat makes for a more enjoyable time outside.

Dressing for the heat is important. You want to wear lightweight and light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton. Synthetic fabric that repels sweat is a great option too.

Active and sporty senior couple engaging in healthy sports activiesDo not forget to protect your head and eyes. A stylish hat will not only look great but protect your scalp and provide some shade for your face. Sunglasses are important to protect your eyes from the sun. Use sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 to any exposed skin and reapply it every two hours.

Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate! Drink water before, during and after you go out in the heat. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages both can contribute to dehydrated.

Take regular breaks and rest. Relax in some shade or a cool place for few minutes, hydrate and continue. Just because temperatures may be high you can still exercise and enjoy outside, adapt, and stay safe.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Headaches
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dark urine

If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler place, stop exercising and cool down immediately by using cool wet cloths, compresses, and fanning. You may need to seek medical attention.

Symptoms of heat stroke:

The symptoms of heat stroke include (call 911 or the local emergency number right away):

  • Fever (temperature above 104 °F)
  • Irrational behavior
  • Extreme confusion
  • Dry, hot, and red skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Consult your Doctor

Your doctor is a partner in helping you stay healthy and active; they can advise you about your specific needs. Your healthcare provider can help you choose activities that will help your heart and are safe for you.

Being active is part of your heart-healthy lifestyle. Along with a heart healthy diet, exercise may strengthen your heart muscle, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and help keep your bones strong. Regular exercise can help you lose weight and feel better.

If you are new to exercise start slow and build up gradually little by little. Remember the more exercise you can the healthier you and your heart will be. Any amount will help.

Side view of a man doing a stretching exercise with the help of his yoga partner

Ring in the New Year with Heart Healthy Habits


Happy New Year! Start the new year with a plan to stay heart healthy. Not sure where to start? These heart healthy New Year’s resolutions will keep you on the right track all year long.



Drink More Water

A recent National Institute of Health study indicated that a diet with excess sugar can put extra stress on the heart’s tissue, making it easier for damage to occur. Staying hydrated often keeps you from drinking calorie and sugar loaded pop. Also, drinking your calories makes you feel less satisfied than if you ate them.

How to stick to your resolution

  • Carry a refillable water bottle and use it.
  • If you are a regular pop drinker, replace one or two sugary drinks with water each week until you cut almost all high-calorie drinks from your diet.
  • Adding slices of cucumber, strawberry, lemon or orange will change the flavor of your water adding variety.

Read more in our April 2018 blog Reducing Sugar Sugary Drinks


Quit Smoking

Now is the best time to kick the habit of smoking. Smoking increases your risk of cancer and heart disease.

How to stick to your resolution

  • Write down why you want to quit smoking and look at it every time you feel like you want to smoke.
  • Join a support group.
  • Create your own quit plan.

These links offer great tips for finally kicking the habit


Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are all high in things like fiber, vitamins and minerals. Eating more fruit and vegetables will provide you with all the nutrients you need while cutting your calories. Limiting calories helps to control weight, which reduces the likelihood of developing heart disease, hypertension and heart failure.

How to stick to your resolution

  • Keep your kitchen filled with fresh, dried, frozen or canned fruits and veggies.
  • Canned fruits and vegetables should be rinsed off as they often contain extra salt and sugar.
  • Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables each meal.
  • Compare food labels when buying anything except fresh produce. There can be hidden ingredients in some products
  • Experiment with steaming, grilling, sautéing, roasting, baking and microwaving your veggies as these are the healthiest ways to cook them.

Read more on season fruit and product in our Blog Heart Healthy with Seasonal Produce from August 2019.


Manage Your Stress

Stress causes a large amount of physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping, headaches, tight muscles and forgetfulness. Many people resort to eating, drinking alcohol, not sleeping and overworking themselves to try and cope. Stress can take a toll on your body as a whole, and on your heart.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Use positive self-talk every day to control stress with phrases like “I can do this” or “I know how to deal with this”.
  • In times of extreme stress, take a moment before you react. Count to 10, take four or five deep breaths, walk away or go for a walk.
  • Do one thing you enjoy every day.


Eat Out Less

While your body needs salt to function, it’s not necessarily the salt you’re eating at home that has become a problem. Restaurants and fast food locations have notoriously high levels of salt in their diet. Excess salt increases the possibility of developing high blood pressure and can lead to heart disease and stroke. It’s impossible to completely avoid eating out, but there are steps you can take to reduce the salt in your diet when you do.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Go to restaurants where your food is cooked to order and specifically ask for less or no salt.
  • Don’t use the salt on the table and limit how much you use high-salt condiments like soy sauce, pickles and olives.


Buy Less Processed Food

Processed foods often contain aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, excess salt and hydrogenated oils. Your body doesn’t need these chemicals. More than 75% of the salt in the average American’s diet come from processed foods.

How to stick to your resolution

  • Buy less boxed and packaged foods and try to cook more often.
  • Read food labels to look for any hidden sugars and salts.
  • Buy more fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Learn more about the Salty Six from the American Heart Association.


Eat More Fiber

Fiber helps digestion and keeps your feeling full longer, which also helps you manage your weight! High-fiber foods can contribute to reducing your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, by lowering bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Replace foods you currently eat with whole grain options. Try whole-grain pasta, brown or wild rice, whole-grain cereals and whole-grain or corn tortillas to start.


Exercise More

It’s recommended that everyone exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, every day. Your heart is a muscle, and it needs to be exercised just like any other muscle in your body.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Start by walking
  • Slowly increase the intensity levels of your workout, but make sure not to overdo yourself.
  • Talk with your doctor about an exercise that would be right for you.
  • Read more tips on moving more in our September Blog 5 Tips to Being Active
  • Our November blog is a great read on why physical activity is so import. Why Physical Activity is Important


Discover Your Family History

Knowing your background can assist you in learning about the risk factors that may run in your family. This way, you are on the look-out for anything that might be an early warning sign.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Set-up time to talk to each family member about their medical history individually and take notes.
  • Visit your doctor to talk about what you found.


Limit Alcohol

Even though many studies have linked the benefits of drinking things like red wine in moderation, the correlation isn’t high enough to start drinking if you haven’t before. Excessive alcohol can increase the amount of fat you have in your blood, which can cause an increase in high blood pressure and the risk of heart failure.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • People tend to drink more at home than they do when they go out. Slowly replace the alcohol in your home with other healthy drink options.
  • If you’re having a party, offer non-alcoholic drinks next to the alcoholic options.
  • Buy smaller glasses. This will limit the amount of alcohol that you can drink at one time.
  • If you think you have a drinking problem and would like help, please reach out to your doctor or call The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit their website to find treatment options. Completely confidential and free 24/7.


Cut Down on Caffeine

Caffeine aggravates stress and raises your blood pressure, which can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Cut back slowly by mixing together caffeine-free and caffeinated coffee or adding more water to your coffee every day.
  • Switch things up by drinking tea in different flavors.
  • Slowly cut down on how much pop you drink a day.


Go to the Dentist

Studies have shown that people who develop periodontal disease are two times more likely to develop heart disease.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Brush and floss your teeth regularly.
  • Schedule regular dental appointments every six months.
  • Watch out for bleeding gums.


Sleep More

Researchers are making a connection between lack of sleep and heart disease. Not getting enough sleep can cause plaque to build up in your arteries by increasing hormone levels in your body.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even if you don’t have anything on your agenda.
  • Develop a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Don’t take naps.
  • Spend an hour before bed doing a relaxing activity.


Go to the Doctor

Your doctor is your best source of information when it comes to your health. They can test your levels and talk to you about changes you should be making to your lifestyle to stay heart healthy.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Make an appointment for a routine physical with your health care provider.
  • Get a physical every year.


Lose Weight

Around 70% of Americans are considered overweight or obese according to the Body Mass Index chart. Excess weight increases your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.

How to stick to your resolution.

  • Follow all of the guidelines above. These healthy tips will start you in the right direction.
  • Read more great tips in our blog and check back often for the latest information on staying heart healthy.

Get into gear with these simple New Year’s resolutions. Start your year off right with steps to a heart healthy lifestyle. If you or a loved one has any heart health concerns, turn to Alpine Cardiology. Call 989-448-7002 or visit our website.

Heart Healthy Recipes Perfect for a Holiday Brunch or Any Meal

Holidays can wreck havoc on healthy eating. These heart healthy recipes would be perfect additions to a holiday brunch or meal


Turkey Bacon and Spinach Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

Serves 5

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups grated sweet potato (from about 1 medium sweet potato)
  • 1 teaspoon canola or corn oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 6 pieces turkey bacon, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • ¾ teaspoon dried dillweed, crumbled
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup fat-free milk
  • 1½ tablespoons fat-free feta cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  2. Gently press the grated sweet potato over the bottom and up the side of the pie pan. (The grated sweet potato will be loose, but will hold together once baked.) Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is cooked. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion for 6 to 8 minutes, or until very soft, stirring frequently. Stir in the turkey bacon. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion and bacon begin to brown, stirring frequently. Stir in the spinach, dillweed, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spinach releases its juice. Remove from the heat. Using a spatula, transfer the mixture into the sweet potato pie crust.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and milk. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach mixture in the pie crust. Dot the feta cheese over the top.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the center doesn’t jiggle when the pan is gently shaken or a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the quiche comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Festive Turkey Rice Salad

Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked wild or brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked skinless turkey breast, cooked without salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 bunch chopped green onions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, oil, honey, and ginger.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the rice, turkey, cranberries, and green onions. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.


Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Serves 8

  • 1/2 lb., Brussels sprouts, brown ends trimmed off and cut in half
  • 1/2 medium cauliflower (cut into florets)
  • 4 medium carrots (peeled, sliced)
  • Turnips, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Beets, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Sweet potato (peeled, optional) cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. no-calorie sweetener (granulated)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 2 clove fresh, minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Thoroughly wash all vegetables, cut and toss together in large bowl.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, no-calorie sweetener, rosemary, garlic, onion powder, pepper and salt. Pour over vegetable mixture and toss well.
  4. Pour vegetable mixture into prepared 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring once, until all vegetables pierce easily with a fork.


Baked Apples and Pears with Almonds

Serves 4

  • 4 small Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples (can substitute any variety of apple or use pears as available or on sale)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, unoiled almonds
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries or raisins (no-sugar-added)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon honey

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Cut ½ inch off the top of the apples, save the tops.
  3. Using a spoon or paring knife, core out the apples, leaving a bottom/base intact.
  4. Chop almonds.
  5. In a small bowl, combine almonds, cranberries and cinnamon – stir gently. Drizzle in honey and stir until almonds and cranberries are coated.
  6. Spoon almond mixture into apples and replace tops. Fill a small baking dish with ¼ inch of water, place apples in dish and cover loosely tented foil. Bake
    30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until apples are tender and lightly golden.


During frigid weather seniors are at a higher risk for accidents, injuries and other emergencies, especially if they still drive. Other threats include furnace failures, power outages, isolation, hypothermia and dehydration. If you are a senior, have an elderly family member or close friend that lives independently, here are some important cold weather safety tips to prepare them and their home for winter weather.


Check the furnace

Preventative HVAC maintenance ensures trouble-free operation and peak performance of the furnace. Schedule a furnace inspection with an HVAC professional. Have the contractor clean or replace filters and make any necessary repairs to avoid your furnace breaking down during the cold.

Clean the chimney and flue

If your home as a fireplace or wood/pellet stove, creosote and soot can build up and potentially cause a chimney fire. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) says that fireplaces need to be cleaned when there is 1/8″ of sooty buildup inside the chimney or flue system. If you don’t want to spend the money on a professional chimney, use a do-it-yourself chimney cleaning system that makes it easy to clean the chimney from INSIDE the home without getting up on a ladder.

Stock up on Fuel

If you heat your house with oil or propane, make sure tanks are full and plan for auto fill so that you don’t risk running out of fuel. If you heat with a wood stove arrange for regular deliveries of seasoned firewood or wood pellets.

If you are concerned about a loved one’s heating system failing or running out of fuel, install a freeze alarm that sends an alert if their heating system fails. There are many types of affordable call out freeze alarms that will automatically call emergency numbers if there is a drastic drop in temperature. Talk to your local HVAC professional for options available in your area.


Have an alternative source of heat

During power outages make sure to have a safe (non-electric) way to stay warm. Wood stoves, kerosene heaters, or efficient wood-burning fireplace can keep you warm until your power is restored. But burning wood or kerosene can produce deadly CO gasses, make sure the are is properly ventilated and install a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector.

Have non-electric lighting available

Make sure you have adequate lighting sources during blackouts, including battery-powered flashlights, lanterns and extra batteries. Also use hand crank flashlight that works without batteries as a backup. Prevent falls, tripping and running into objects during a power outage by installing automatic rechargeable nightlights in room and hallways. These will provide instant illumination if the power goes out. Consider installing solar-powered security lights to help navigate outside. They are easy to install because they are wireless and can be positioned just about anywhere there is adequate sunshine to recharge the batteries.

Keep your cell phone charged

During a power outage it is important to stay in touch with the outside world, but keeping a mobile device charged is a problem when there is no electricity. There are emergency cell phone chargers that can power up your cell phone or table during prolonged power outages.


Buy extra food and bottle water

Have at least a week’s supply of non-perishable food and a couple of gallons of drinking water on hand in case you lose power. Get a hand-operated can opener to use during power outages.

Fill prescriptions of critical medicines

Don’t let your medicine run low, have automatic renewals set up to deliver your medicine before you run out. Check with your local pharmacy to see if they offer home delivery or fill your prescriptions through a mail order pharmacy so that you don’t have to worry about going out in bad weather to pick up your medicine.

If you take multiple prescription medications, vitamins or other supplements at various times during the day it can be difficult to manage and risky if you get it wrong. Using weekly or monthly pill box will remind you when to take your doses or you can go with an automated pill dispenser. Many will also have a reminder that alerts you when it is time to take a pill and will automatically dispense it for you.


Prevent cabin fever

Winter can be a time of boredom, isolation and seasonal depression, especially when housebound. Encourage family and friends to stop over or stay in touch by phone. Ake sure you have a good telephone system to make calls easily. There are phones available with easy-to-ready buttons, amplified volume and talking caller ID. These features are helpful for folks with hearing loss, low vision or limited mobility.

Enjoy indoor exercise

Move your body by walking in place or doing laps around the house. Wearing a pedometer or heart rate monitor can encourage movement as your watch your progress.

Prevent dehydration

Winter dehydration is a real risk, especially for the elderly. Remember to eat well-balanced meals that include a lot of vegetable and fruits and drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is another very important cold weather safety tip.


Make sure your car is winterized and equipped with an ice scraper, travel fluid, hat, gloves, cell phone and a travel blanket in case you become stuck or stranded. Remember to pay attention to travel warnings or advisories during winter weather. Stay indoors until everything clear.

Keep your walkways, entrances and driveway shoveled and salted. If you are not able to do it yourself, arrange to have it automatically done when needed. If you are able, help the seniors in your life by keeping their driveways and walkways safe, bringing in their mail and newspapers and offering to drive them to the store or appointment.



Red Cross power outages

National Institute of Health cold weather safety

Otsego County Commission of Aging – Otsego


The Weather Channel

Great Lakes Energy Outage Map

Consumers Energy Outages

DTE Energy Outages

State of Michigan Power Outage



Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon-Sauteed Apples and Cilantro Rice plus Apple Bread Pudding


Serves 4

As promised another heart healthy holiday meal recipe to keep you Healthy For Good! Delicious and juicy pork tenderloin with tasty cilantro rice and decadent apple bread pudding

Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 1-pound pork tenderloin,all visible fat discarded
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive, canola, or corn oil
  • 4 apples (any variety) cored and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a small cup, stir together the allspice and pepper. Sprinkle onto the pork. Using your fingertips, gently press the allspice mixture so it adheres to the pork.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the pork on all four sides (about 1 minute on each side), or until browned.
  4. Transfer the pork to a baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the pork 145°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  5. Meanwhile, in the same skillet, still over medium-high heat, cook the apples and cinnamon for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the apples are soft, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
  6. Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Let stand for 5 minutes. Slice the pork. Serve with the apples on top.

Cilantro Rice

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 medium green onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice, covered to keep warm
  1. Stir the cilantro, green onions, and lemon juice into the cooked rice.


Apple Bread Pudding

Serves 4

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tablespoons low-calorie brown sugar blend
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves or ground allspice
  • 6 slices light, whole-grain, or multigrain bread (lowest sodium available), cubed
  • 3 medium apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • ½ cup raisins, unsweetened dried cranberries, fresh or unsweetened dried blueberries, or chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds (optional)

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