HealthFit’s approach to exercise, weight loss & nutrition
We believe preventing chronic health conditions before they begin will be the future focus of healthcare. At HealthFit, it is a principle that guides patient care every day. This prevention is achieved through the adoption of a nutritious, calorie-conscious diet paired with routine exercise. For those patients already battling one or more chronic health conditions or who want a healthier lifestyle, these healthy habits can drastically improve chronic issues and even reverse their progression.
Rather than just treating the complications and secondary problems brought about by chronic health conditions, we also treat the conditions themselves. The HealthFit care providers focus on implementing behaviors and strategies that lead to lasting change. With a team of fitness and nutrition experts, along with a close partnership with a neighboring health-focused gym, we help our patients develop personalized habits and goals that are measurable, realistic and sustainable – leading to a happier, healthier lifestyle.
Jump to a topic:
- Exercise for health/chronic conditions.
- Exercise during pregnancy.
- Obesity/weight loss.
- Nutrition counseling.
Exercise for good health and for chronic conditions
Exercise is a free, natural and fun way to prevent all sorts of health problems while making one feel better in many ways. Our physicians often give patients exercise prescriptions to prevent health problems, including chronic ones.
Patients of all ages benefit from regular exercise. It can prevent health problems like heart disease, arthritis, some cancers, stroke, falls, diabetes and depression. Exercise can keep excess weight off, improve a person’s sex life, give more energy, result in a good mood and promote better sleep.
Exercise in some form or another, and approved by a HealthFit physician, is for everyone. It can also be a life saver for people with chronic conditions.
While chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes often require medical intervention that may include prescription medications and other medical treatments, physical activity can play a vital role in treating these conditions.
Before beginning any exercise routine, it’s important for patients with chronic conditions to speak with their doctor to ensure that the routine is safe. Our team of doctors and kinesiologists guides patients to targeted, tailored exercise routines based on their unique physiology and goals.
Also called “cardio” because of its benefit to the cardiovascular system, this type of exercise elevates the heart rate over a sustained period of time. Some common forms of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and hiking. The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of aerobic exercise four times per week for individuals wishing to lower their blood pressure or cholesterol and reduce their risk for cardiovascular complications such as heart attack and stroke.
In addition to benefiting the cardiovascular system, aerobic exercise strengthens muscles and burns calories, both of which help with weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.
In contrast to aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercises involve intense bouts of strength-based activities done for a short duration of time (usually less than 2 minutes). Some common examples of anaerobic activities include weight lifting, sprinting and jumping. The term “anaerobic” means an absence of oxygen, and these types of activities are not fueled by oxygen like aerobic exercises are. Instead, they rely on individual muscle groups for short and intense bursts of energy.
Like aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise has been shown to have positive effects on the cardiovascular system while also burning fat and building lean muscle mass. Muscle mass is important for long-term, sustainable weight loss because muscle burns calories. Building muscle mass also helps patients look and feel their best.
Exercise during pregnancy
While pregnancy requires certain precautions, pregnant women are encouraged to continue reasonable exercise routines as described below. Exercise during pregnancy reduces the risk of gestational diabetes as well as postpartum mood disorders. It can also boost mood, increase energy, alleviate aches and pains, and prevent an unhealthy amount of weight gain while pregnant (although some weight gain during pregnancy is expected and completely healthy).
Generally, lower impact exercises with lower intensity are best. Some examples include walking, elliptical machines, swimming and yoga. Activities to avoid include those that put the woman at risk of falling as well as activities that might lead to exhaustion or dehydration.
Obesity and weight loss
Obesity is the condition of being overweight to the degree that it adversely affects one’s health. Obesity is diagnosed using a simple calculation factoring the ratio of weight and height known as body mass index (BMI). One is considered obese if his or her BMI is over 30.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over a third of adults in the United States are obese. Obesity among children and adolescents is increasing in prevalence. Complications and risks associated with obesity include stroke, cardiovascular disease, certain forms of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and lower overall quality of life. Obesity is one of the main causes of preventable deaths in the U.S. each year.
While obesity affects a large portion of the population, it is a preventable and reversible condition. Broadly speaking, weight gain leading to obesity occurs because one is consuming more calories than his or her body can use, which causes the body to store the extra energy as fat.
Therefore reversing and/or preventing obesity involves reducing the amount and type of calories consumed as well as burning more calories and building muscle through exercise. While certain underlying conditions and genetic factors can leave one more likely to be obese, it is true in nearly every case that reducing calories and implementing healthy exercise habits can help an obese person reach a healthy weight.
With our focus on preventing chronic conditions, our physicians encourage and assist all patients who are overweight or obese to take steps to lose weight and adopt healthy habits that stave off the risks and complications of carrying excess pounds.
When it comes to overall health and well-being, few things have such a direct impact as the choices we make about what food and how much of it we eat. Many of the chronic health conditions affecting millions of Americans today (obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, to name a few) are directly attributed to poor dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle.
The United States Department of Health reports that more than 2 in 3 adults are overweight or obese. At HealthFit, we help patients understand how their eating pattern impacts their overall health, as well as how to implement changes that lead to improved well-being and decreased risk for the many serious complications linked to poor diet.
Nutrition counseling for patients managing chronic health conditions can take many forms, depending on a patient’s diagnosis and goals. For example, someone wishing to reduce his/her blood pressure will limit the amount of sodium he/she consumes, as excess sodium is a known risk factor for hypertension. To boot, much of the processed food Americans regularly consume is high in sodium.
Someone with prediabetes wishing to stave off the development of type 2 diabetes needs to be aware of the amount of sugars he or she is consuming, and the effect certain foods have on blood glucose levels. An obese patient will learn about calorie density of certain foods, and how to choose meals that are filling and satisfying without exceeding daily caloric goals.
We are committed to using nutrition counseling as a cornerstone in caring for every patient’s health. It is also a foundation for treating and preventing the chronic conditions that widely affect our population, while addressing each patient’s unique needs and health goals.