Heart Disease is a Leading Cause of Death

If you think that cancer is the number one killer, you would be right. Certainly, there is a lot of information in the media about this devastating disease. You may be surprised to learn, though, that cancer has only recently made it to the top of the list of causes of death. Heart disease was the reigning number one killer for a many years, and is still a very serious health concern.

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is not a single medical condition, but rather a term that describes several conditions that have a negative effect on the heart muscle and how it functions. The HeartMart website describes most of the common conditions – take a visit! What you learn might help save your life or the life of a loved one.

Factors that Contribute to Heart Disease

A number of factors have a hand in your likelihood of developing heart disease.

  1. Genetics

You have absolutely no control over your family history, but it is a major heart disease risk factor. If a close relative has had heart disease, you have a greater chance of developing this condition yourself. That doesn’t mean you should throw up your hands and conclude that there is nothing you can do. An increased risk is not a sure thing and if you focus on the things you can control (level of physical activity, diet and being a non-smoker), you may go through life without developing heart disease at all.

  1. Smoking

Cigarette smoking is an extremely hard habit to break. The nicotine contained in cigarettes is a highly-addictive substance. When a smoker takes a drag off a cigarette, they experience a rush from the nicotine within a few seconds, and this is what the nicotine addict craves.

  1. Obesity

Obesity is another condition that increases a person’s risk of developing heart disease, and unfortunately, it is on the rise in the United States.


Obesity is defined as weighing 30 percent or more above the recommended weight standards for an individual’s height.

In your quest to lessen your risk of developing heart disease, it’s important to keep your cholesterol levels down to the recommended range. If you have been told by your doctor that you have high cholesterol, you can try to control your condition by making changes to your diet. Medications may be prescribed to regulate your cholesterol levels as well.

The best things you can do for yourself when trying to prevent heart disease is to eat well and be physically active. A balanced diet that includes a variety of foods will help you look and feel better. You do need some fat in your diet, so don’t think that by eliminating all fats that you are going to lessen your risk of developing heart disease. Regular exercise helps to strengthen the heart muscle and burns fat, too.

Keep an eye on the HeartMart blog and plan on visiting regularly. We will be posting healthy diet plans for you to follow, along with suggestions for exercise routines you may want to try. Other posts will deal with how to determine whether you are at risk for developing heart disease.

Resistance Band Exercises for Upper Body

Resistance bands are a popular and effective choice for people who want to stay fit. These flexible pieces of latex or synthetic materials are available with and without a handle. Available in different strengths, they are used to develop strength and flexibility.

For people who are traveling for business or pleasure, choosing exercise bands to work out with is a great choice. They are lightweight and fit easily into a suitcase without adding a lot of bulk like trying to pack free weights would.

When using exercise bands for an upper body workout, be sure to move slowly and throughout the movement. Your goal is to control the movement as you are pulling on the resistance band and releasing it. Once you have some experience using resistance bands for fitness, consider working with a shorter section of band to get a higher level of tension throughout the range of movement.

Resistance Band Exercises for Biceps and Triceps

A basic exercise that you can start with is a simple bicep curl. Start by positioning the band under your feet and holding one end in each hand. At the beginning of the movement, your arms should be held down at your sides. Pull your arms up toward your shoulders and slowly lower them again.

When working out, it’s important to work both sides of a muscle and performing a triceps extension exercise is a good addition to your exercise band workout routine. The first step is to attach the middle of the band to a high object. Grasp an end of the band in each hand; elbows should be bent and parallel to the floor. While keeping the upper arm still, straighten the elbows until the arms are fully extended. Move your arms back to the starting position, taking care not to use a jerky motion.

An overhead tricep extension is another option for an upper body workout with exercise bands. To start, step onto one end of the resistance band and grasp the other end firmly in one hand. Position your arm so that the elbow is pointed toward the ceiling and your hand is behind you. Slowly straighten your elbow and raise your hand until it is pointed toward the ceiling. Once the arm has been fully extended, slowly bring it back to the starting position.

These resistance bands exercises will help you to tone your arms, shoulders and upper back. They can be part of an overall fitness workout that you can perform in your home or at the gym.

How to Choose Resistance Bands for Exercise

Using resistance bands for fitness are a great choice. They are reasonably priced, portable and can be used for strength training as well as stretching exercises.

Incorporating resistance bands into your fitness routine is a great choice, since the level of resistance can be adjusted very easily. Using them means you can change your usual exercise routine to include some different movements than if you were using a machine. The resistance you will experience is different than from working out with free weights, too, and using the bands will help stave off boredom with your fitness routine.

Exercise bands are approximately three feet in length and six inches wide. Some of them look like tubes, and this model will be equipped with handles. Other types of resistance bands look more like a ribbon, and these can be wrapped around a pole or the leg of a chair during use.

Before using resistance bands, examine them carefully to ensure that they are free from tears and holes by holding it up to the light. If you see a worn spot, the band should be replaced immediately.

Getting the Right Exercise Band

Before you can choose the right exercise band, consider how you will be using it. If you are planning to use resistance bands for Pilates, look for one with a flat shape. This style is easier for you to position around your body when working out.

Bands in a tube shape equipped with handles are better suited to strength training. You will want to be able able to get a firm grip on the band while performing resistance exercises.

Another consideration when you want to choose resistance bands for exercise is length. Using a band that is too short will not give you a full range of motion. Buy an exercise band that is within eight inches of your height to give you the maximum benefit.

Most of the bands available on the market are made of latex. People living with latex allergies should shop around to find a non-latex variety.

Level of resistance varies, depending on the band you use. Buying a multi-pack of bands with different resistance levels will help you find the right level for you, and you have the option of using bands with different resistance for different types of exercise. Keep in mind that the thicker the band is, the more resistance it will give you.

Select the Right Exercise Band Resistance

If you will be using exercise bands for the first time, start with one with a 3-6 lb. resistance. Experienced resistance band users who are looking for more challenge can go with a medium resistance one (7 lb. and up). Heavy bands (15 lb. or more) should be reserved for people who have experience with this type of exercise equipment.

Resistance Bands for Strength Training

Choosing resistance bands for strength training is a way to add some variety to your fitness routine. If you are looking for a piece of exercise equipment that is budget-friendly and can be used for a number of different types of exercise, then the resistance band may be the right choice for you.

A resistance band is a great choice if you are on the road for business or you are planning a vacation get-away. Unlike barbells or other weight training equipment, they don’t take up a lot of room in your suitcase. Pack them so that you can work out when you get to your hotel.

This type of exercise equipment can be used by people at any fitness level. Whether you are just starting your fitness routine for heart health or you work out regularly and are looking for a way to change up your workouts to avoid getting bored, exercise bands are a great choice.

Advantages of Using Exercise Bands for Fitness

If your budget doesn’t include the cost of buying a treadmill, elliptical trainer or other large piece of fitness equipment, consider exercise bands as an alternative. They are priced within the reach of most consumers, and you should be able to find them for $20 or less. Shopping around will help you find a good quality item at an affordable price.

Fitness newbies can start using resistance bands with some basic moves. People who are more advanced can use them to get a more intense workout than other strength training exercises with dumbbells or barbells can provide.

The bands can be used in a variety of positions, which means the user can work a number of different muscle groups with them. They can be attached to a door for pulldowns or a person can stand on top of the band and pull up on their handles to perform bicep curls.

Disadvantages of Exercise Bands

People are used to working out with dumbbells or barbells are going to get a different experience when they use exercise bands. Using exercise bands to work out with means that the resistance stays constant while the movement is being performed. It’s closer to what the user would experience with an cable machine, as opposed to feeling a pull on the muscle only when you are moving against gravity.

Strength training with free weights or using exercise machines means that the individual always knows how much he or she is lifting. With exercise bands, there is no way to measure how much resistance is being used when performing the movement. They can provide a good workout, even though the exact amount of resistance cannot be measured.

Elliptical Trainer vs. Treadmill: How to Choose

If you are looking for a piece of exercise equipment that will give you a good cardiovascular workout, the elliptical trainer and the treadmill can help you get the results you are looking for. Which one is the best choice? There are advantages to choosing each piece of equipment, and the best one for you depends on your particular needs and goals.

Both pieces of equipment are popular choices for people who want to set up a home gym. Working out at home means that you can do so on your schedule, without having to factor in travel time to get to a health club or gym.

Having a home gym outfitted with an elliptical trainer or a treadmill means that your exercise schedule is not dependent on the weather. You have the freedom to work out during cold or wet weather if you wish; exceptionally hot weather doesn’t need to stop you from getting the exercise you need if your home is air conditioned.

Advantages of an Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer provides a complete workout, since it works the upper and lower body simultaneously. The person using the machine can control the intensity of the exercise very easily by speeding up or slowing down his or her leg movements.

Grasping the handlebars on the unit and moving the arms and shoulders in tandem with the leg movements means you will burn more calories. If your goal is to lose weight, the elliptical trainer will probably be the better choice. It also makes sense if you have a limited amount of time to exercise and you want to get the maximum benefit from each session.

Advantages of a Treadmill

Choosing a treadmill for your home gym workout means that you can set a particular program to follow during your exercise session. Depending on the intensity you want, you can set the machine to give you an experience on a flat surface or going up hills for a more challenging one.

The treadmill allows you to avoid getting bored with your workout by exercising while watching television. Walking or running while checking out your favorite show can make the time spent exercising pass quickly.

If tracking your progress when working out is important to you, the treadmill’s console can help you keep track of how long you have been working out, as well as how many miles you have walked or run. The unit should also be able to track your heart rate so that you will know whether you are in your target zone for fat burning.

When you are considering an elliptical trainer vs. a treadmill for home use, you also need to factor in cost. A treadmill will probably be less expensive to purchase than an elliptical trainer, but the elliptical trainer will give you a better overall workout. Your final choice will depend on what criteria are most important to you.

Elliptical Trainer Basics

Are you interested in getting an all-over aerobic workout? The elliptical trainer is a great choice for people who want to get the benefits of cardio exercise without putting excessive stress on the back, legs and knees.

Weight-bearing exercise, which is performed while standing up, is important for bone health. Girls and women are encouraged to include activities like walking, jogging, hiking or dancing in their routine to decrease the risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. Heart disease in women is a very real health issue, and regular exercise will help to reduce the risk of developing this serious health condition.

These types of activities help to keep bones strong, but the pounding that occurs when using the legs and muscles against gravity can lead to injuries such as straining or tearing ligaments, tendinitis and shin splints. Tendinitis in the knee occurs when the tendon in the joint becomes irritated. A shin splint is an irritation of the muscle of the lower leg which occurs during a run.

Elliptical Trainer for Weight Bearing Exercise

An elliptical trainer provides the benefits of weight bearing exercise without the same level of impact of running, jogging or similar activities. The elliptical trainer incorporates upper and lower body movements to raise the user’s heartbeat and keep it in the target range for maximum cardiac benefit. The user gets a very effective workout without feeling as if he or she is working really hard to do so.

An elliptical trainer is a common piece of exercise equipment at health clubs and gyms, and for good reason. It’s relatively easy to use once the user establishes a rhythm on the machine and someone can burn an impressive amount of calories without straining to do so.

Elliptical Trainer for Your Home Gym

When considering an elliptical trainer for a home gym, look for a unit with adjustable resistance. A low resistance setting may be good choice for beginners, but as the user’s level of fitness improves, he or she will want to have a more challenging experience and a better overall workout.

Noise level is another important consideration, especially when considering an elliptical trainer for home use. If the unit makes enough noise to cause a distraction, the owner will not be inclined to use it often enough to get the benefits of doing so.

Choosing an elliptical trainer for home use will provide a great workout without putting undue strain on the lower body. A person at any level of fitness can use the machine, and he or she can control the intensity of the workout by moving faster or slower while using it. It’s a good choice for people who are concerned about impact injuries while performing other types of fitness activities.

Treadmill or Exercise Bike: Which Workout is Best?

Cycling and walking or jogging are all popular forms of exercise and they can be performed by healthy people at any level of fitness. A person who is trying to adopt an active lifestyle to improve overall health can start off slowly and increase the length and intensity of the workout over time.

Choosing to use a treadmill or an exercise bike means that a person who wants to get and stay fit doesn’t have to venture outside to do so. Both of these pieces of exercise equipment provide a number of benefits for users, including improved cardiovascular health, a more positive outlook and lower blood pressure.

Given that both pieces of equipment offer health benefits to users, is one better than the other? A person who is looking for one item for home use may find it difficult to choose one over the other. No solution is going to work for everyone, but by taking a good look at workout style and preferences, an individual can make the right choice.

Exercise Equipment and Motivation

Some people enjoy working out and for them getting physical is something that is an ingrained part of their life that they would miss if they weren’t able to do it. Others need to have the right motivation to help keep them on track; otherwise they start with the best of intentions but are unable to keep going over the long term.

To stick with an exercise program, these individuals need a plan to stave off boredom. In this instance, an excise bike may be a better choice than a treadmill, since it offers more options to the user.

The control panel on the unit can be set to provide the person riding the bike with an experience that mimics riding on a flat piece of road, going up and down hills or other types of terrain. The user can listen to music, play games, watch television or even read while using the bike. For safety reasons, a person using a treadmill is limited to watching TV or listening to music.

Workout Results on Treadmill and Exercise Bike

If a person is comparing a treadmill and exercise bike based on results, the best choice would be the treadmill. People who use a treadmill burn more calories than those who use an exercise bike.

Not everyone wants to use a treadmill over an exercise bike, and this is not the best choice for people who have joint trouble. To avoid injury, a person must concentrate more closely on what he or she is doing while using a treadmill to avoid a slip and fall injury.

When comparing treadmills and exercise bikes, which one is the best choice? A person who is well motivated to work out who wants to get better results in less time would probably be better off with the treadmill. Those who are concerned about getting bored while exercising can get better benefits from using an exercise bike.

Exercise Equipment: the Dual Action Exercise Bike

If you like the idea of using an exercise bike for fitness but you also want to get an all-over workout, consider trying a dual action exercise bike. This type of model works your legs in the same way that any other stationary bike does, but it also allows you to move your arms at the same time.

A number of fitness clubs are providing this type of fitness equipment to their members. This model is also becoming popular among consumers looking for home gym equipment.

The dual action bike doesn’t just provide a workout for the legs and glutes; it also helps the user to strengthen and tone the arms and upper back. Being able to move the arms and legs simultaneously provides a better cardio workout. A person using this type of equipment would have the flexibility to control the intensity of the workout to achieve the results he or she is looking for.

Features of a Dual Action Exercise Bike

When considering buying a dual action exercise bike, look for one with an option to lock the handle bars. When the handles are unlocked, they move in conjunction with the bike pedals. Not all users will be interested in this type of movement every time they exercise using the bike. Even when the handles are unlocked, the user can still control the intensity of the workout by varying the speed of arm movements.

An adjustable seat is an important feature when looking for an exercise bike. The ones available at a gym or health club should be easily adjusted to accommodate users of various heights. Trying to use a bike with a seat that is not in the proper position can lead to strains and injuries.

A higher-end exercise bike will have a console indicating multiple readings while the equipment is in use. The user can see how long he or she has been pedaling, as well as the distance traveled during a session. The level of resistance may also be indicated on screen. In some cases, the on-screen indicator may also show pulse rate and the number of calories burned during the session.

Benefits of Using a Dual Action Exercise Bike

  • This piece of exercise equipment’s all-over workout will benefit people who want to burn fat for weight loss, as well as build muscle.
  • The exercise bike can be used for short, intense training sessions, as well as longer ones to build endurance.
  • This option provides a low-intensity workout, which will benefit people who have joint issues.

Working out with an exercise bike regularly can help to reduce stress, and may even help to combat depression. It helps to lower the risk of stroke, heart attack and other cardiovascular issues. For people looking for a low-impact way to get (and stay) fit, this option is definitely worth considering.

Exercise Equipment: the Exercise Bike

An exercise bike can be a great choice for people who want to stay active. A person can buy one to be part of his or her home gym equipment, or they are readily available at most health clubs or at the gym.

A program of regular exercise provides a number of health benefits, including lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Getting physical can also help to regulate blood sugar for patients diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Before starting any exercise program, do see your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to work out and that the level of activity you have in mind is not too strenuous.

Choosing to use an exercise bike for a workout means that the participant has a similar experience to being out on the road, without having to worry about keeping his or her balance on uneven terrain or dealing with inclement weather. An exercise bike also provides the rider more flexibility in his or her workout because the settings can be adjusted to make the ride as easy or as challenging as the rider needs.

Types of Exercise Bikes

There are four basic types of exercise bikes:

Wind Bikes are the lowest-priced models on the market, which makes them a very popular choice among consumers. As the rider pedals, the movement causes a fan to turn. This is the motion that creates resistance, and it also means that the wind bike can be a noisy choice for a workout.

Magnet bikes use one or more magnets to create resistance when in use. This bike has the advantage of not being as noisy to operate as a wind bike. This type of equipment is also more expensive to buy than a wind bike.

The third type of exercise bike is a fluid-based training bike. This is a good choice for people preparing for a bike race who want to be able to practice indoors. The bike uses hydraulics to create resistance during use. The harder the rider pedals, the more resistance is created.

The most expensive type of exercise bike is the turbo trainer. This is the type used by professionals and it provides an experience that is very similar to taking a bike out on the road. The operator can set the bike to the level of resistance he or she wants to get a better workout. Most turbo exercise bikes have a display screen where a rider can see his or her heart rate, as well as the bike’s speed and the length of the workout.

Before you choose an exercise bike for home use, take the time to try different models to see which one feels right for you. You may want to consider renting or buying used exercise equipment to keep the cost of getting fit down to a budget-friendly level.

How to Choose a Home Gym

If you are considering buying a home gym, you have a number of options available. To find the one that is going to work well for you, take the time to consider how much space you have available in your home for exercise equipment. Other important factors include the types of exercises you plan to include in your exercise plan and, of course, your budget.

Do you have a designated exercise room in your home or are you looking to put your home gym in a spot in your bedroom or rec room? If you don’t have a room set aside for working out, you will want to make sure that the model you are considering will fit the area that you have set aside for it. You also want to be sure that you have enough clearance so that you can use the machine for extension exercises properly.

For some people, a home gym is very simple: it’s a space to store and lift weights. Other people have different expectations of what a home gym should be, and they are looking for a station which will allow them to perform several exercises.

Home Gym Features

Home gyms can have a number of features. Here are some common ones:

  • Adjustable bench
  • Pull-down bars
  • Press bars
  • Leg curl and extension systems
  • Cable row system

Buying a home gym with these features will give you a good strength training workout. To get a good quality machine offering all of them will likely cost somewhere in the $500-$1,000 range.

Choosing Home Gym Equipment

Before you make a decision about buying home gym equipment, make sure that working out at home is the right choice for you. Being steps away from your exercise machine is convenient, but that may not make it more likely that you will actually use it after the first few weeks.

For any exercise routine for heart health to be effective, it has to be something that you will stick with. Some people find it easier to stick with a weight lifting routine if they go to a gym. It can be easier to stay motivated to exercise when there are other like-minded people sharing the space with you. Before you make the decision to buy home gym equipment, take a good look at yourself and make sure that you are the type of person who doesn’t mind working out alone and who can stay motivated to work towards your fitness goals.