Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - 17

CHOICE NO. 1:
YOUR WAKE-UP TIME

The first step to a good morning starts
the night before, when you decide to
go to bed. Crash late, and you cheat
yourself out of the many health benefits
of sleep.
"We now know that sleep has an
impact on not only functionality but also
coronary artery disease," Graham says.
Not getting enough sleep appears to
affect glucose metabolism, blood pressure and inflammation, which increases
risk for conditions such as diabetes and
heart disease. And one study even found
that people who sleep less than six
hours a night are about twice as likely
to have a stroke or heart attack as those
who sleep six to eight hours a night.
So make sure you go to bed early
enough to get about eight hours of
sleep. Also important: If you find yourself getting eight hours of sleep at night
and still not feeling rested, talk to your
doctor. People with sleep apnea, which
causes frequent night waking, often
have heart problems.

CHOICE NO. 2:
YOUR BREAKFAST

"For any lifestyle choice to be impactful, it has to be sustainable," Graham
says. So, he advises, strive to find foods
that fit your palate. Try to limit the salt,
sugar and saturated fat in your breakfast
while increasing vegetables, fruits and
whole grains. Skip the high-sugar cereals, doughnuts and pastries.
Egg whites are a great protein, says
George Bakris, MD, an author for the
medical reference The Merck Manual. An
egg white scramble with a handful of
veggies and a side of fruit is a healthful
way to start the day.
And be mindful of those morning
staples bacon and sausage, which are
fatty and salty.
"For people who are eating a lot of
breakfast meats," Bakris adds, "you can
substitute those with salmon, which is
very nutritious."

TOOL

If You Do One Thing
The No. 1 heart-healthy habit? Don't smoke. Quitting isn't easy, but resources
are available to help you. Visit healthyforgood.heart.org, then click
"Quit Smoking" in the menu bar.

CHOICE NO. 3:
YOUR ACTIVITY

If you're able to squeeze in a workout-
even just 30 minutes of brisk walking or
a quick interval training routine-into
your morning, you'll start things off
knowing you've already done your recommended exercise for the day.
"Making it part of the morning routine is great because it helps
give you energy throughout the day,"
Graham says.
If joint pain or other issues are keeping you from the treadmill or a bike,
Bakris offers a solution: "I'm a huge
advocate of swimming ... especially for
people with arthritis."
Swimming is a full-body exercise that
is easy on joints and great for people
who are overweight, too, he says.
But if morning workouts aren't your
style, you can still build some activity
into your morning by looking for small
ways to get more steps. Walk to work
or the bus stop, or take the office stairs
instead of the elevator.

CHOICE NO. 4:
YOUR ATTITUDE

Stress may feel inevitable, even though
you know it has a negative effect on
your heart health. But you can choose to
be positive and mindful in an effort to
tackle stress head-on.
Long-term psychological stress leads
to increased levels of the stress hormone
cortisol, which can result in higher
blood sugar levels (a marker for diabetes), digestive issues, sleep problems,
memory issues and weight gain.

THREE STEPS
TO LESS
MORNING
STRESS
Are mornings torture in your house?
There are ways to conquer the chaos.
1. Make a plan, and prep. For
an easier morning, devise a plan the
night before and do as much preparation as possible. Pack lunches, lay out
clothes, even bathe in the evening.
2. Follow a routine. If the family members know the routine-and
their morning responsibilities-rather
than having a different flow every day,
it will be easier to stay on track.
3. Pause for quiet time or meditation. Get your head straight before
the day begins. Take five or 10 minutes for quiet time, prayer or meditation, or even gentle yoga.
"I like to start off the morning with
quiet time-about 20 to 25 minutes
of mindfulness techniques," says
Garth Graham, MD, a cardiologist and
former deputy assistant secretary at
the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. "It helps throughout
the day."

Managing stress takes practice. A
few steps you can take in the morning
include meditating and deep-breathing
exercises to help you set the stage for
a calmer day. You can also try affirmations; telling yourself you're going to
have a great day can be a positive tool. ■
WINTE R 2017

17


http://healthyforgood.heart.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - 2
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover4
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