Take care of your heart in 2012

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photoStefanie Fisher, owner, Vancouver Adventure Boot Camp

Warrior Dash 2012

We had such a great time at the Warrior Dash last year that we decided to do it again!

If you would like to join us, we will run as a group on Saturday, Sept. 8, 11 a.m. wave, North Plains, Oregon.

Participating in the Warrior Dash could be your fitness goal for 2012. Focus on doing something new, overcoming obstacles and finishing with us as a team.

Check out our facebook fanpage if you have not seen our pictures of last year's race:

Join us for the race and register before the wave fills up!

As 2012 begins, one health-related fact emerges that should make us seriously think about lifestyle changes we ought to be making in the New Year.

As the American Heart Association (AHA) reports in December’s issue of its online journal, Circulation, 94 percent of U.S. adults get a “poor” rating in heart health factors, including weight, physical activity, diet, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels.

Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in our country, these findings are certainly alarming.

Additionally, the AHA reports that obesity continues to be the biggest contributor to the risk of heart disease, with 67 percent of American adults and nearly 32 percent of children clinically overweight or obese – and those numbers are constantly rising.

One explanation, the AHA says, is that in recent years the average calorie consumption went up by 22 percent in women and 10 percent in men, with most of the increase coming from unhealthy foods and large portion sizes.

Millions of Americans are literally eating themselves into an early grave. Combine this poor nutrition with a sedentary lifestyle, and you have a recipe for disaster.

In fact, AHA found that 33 percent of adults don’t engage in physical activity at all, and many more fall short of the recommended minimum of 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

What can we do to defy these statistics and improve our cardiovascular health?

It’s really a no-brainer and certainly nothing that we haven’t heard before. The answer is simple: better eating habits and a regular exercise program should be at the top of our New Year resolutions list.

For example:

Do your heart a favor and cut out (or at least drastically reduce) saturated fats, sugar, too much salt, as well as refined foods from your diet. Instead, focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, as well as low-fat diary and lean protein.

Make fitness an integral part of your daily life. The best way to make sure you stick with your exercise program is to find a physical activity that’s enjoyable and varied so it is fun rather than a chore.

If you are like most people, you probably commit to making these lifestyle changes every year, but end up throwing in the towel pretty quickly. However, in 2012 make it your absolute priority to keep these resolutions - no matter what!

Stefanie Fisher is a certified personal trainer and a former member of the German National Team of Olympic Weightlifting with 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is the owner of the Vancouver Adventure Boot Camp and outdoor fitness program for women. Contact Fisher at stefanie@vancouveradventurebootcamp.com or 360-823-9636.