The Total Self: Heart Health

In this article, we visit the heart, the muscle that keeps us alive and moving. Obviously, the heart is one of the body’s most important muscles. Like all other muscles in the body, this muscle needs exercise to be in very good condition. A good, healthful lifestyle and most of all exercise will definitely get your heart at it’s best shape. Below are the most effective and best exercises for your heart.

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider for the best plan of action.

Aerobic Exercises

At least 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise can get your heart muscle healthy. Example of these exercises would range from brisk walking, running and swimming.


Though the recommended range of exercise if moderate to vigorous, you won’t have to do a high level activity exercise because there is another option. Yoga, though there is limited activity, can definitely strengthen the heart muscles and even tone them.

Resistance Training

Resistance training exercises strengthens the heart muscle, increases the heart rate and lets you recover between sets. These exercises are encouraged by various health professionals, cardiologists

Go for a minimum of 2.5 hours of resistance training each week. Most people won’t have any problems lifting weights. The caveat to this, however, is seeking medical advice as to what exact exercises are needed, what works for you, and just how much enjoyment you get from your training regimen.

In conclusion, the importance of heart health is in direct correlation to the quality of life. Heart health should never be overlooked.





The Total Self: Diabetes

This subject of disease, especially one as deadly and debilitating as diabetes that continues to plague our society, is a hot topic. Stats are plentiful, but answers are hard to come by. This article will cover the basics (and a few stats) on the disease.

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider for all things health/wellness related.

Diabetes mellitus is a major cause of mortality and various other debilitating conditions worldwide. This is a condition where the body is prevented from utilizing energy from the food that we eat. There are 2 mechanisms involved in such condition.

  • The pancreas produces little to no insulin.
  • The pancreas produces enough insulin but the body has developed resistance.

There are different types of Diabetes that correspond to these two mechanisms and presses a huge impact in the morbidity and mortality rate.

Type 1: Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. In this  type the body is attacking the pancreas hence damaging it and affects the production of insulin in the body. This condition might be hereditary. There are different conditions associated with the progression of this type, among them are diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy, and even progression of heart diseases and stroke. A regular insulin treatment is used to manage this type of diabetes.

Type 2: Type 2 Diabetes  is the most common type of diabetes which comprises of 95% of diabetes cases in adults. This condition is more often manifested during adulthood associated with obesity and lack of exercise. In this type, insulin resistance is developed. Like Type 1, this condition does not have  a treatment or cure but it can be managed by diet and weight management. Unfortunately, annually in the U.S. alone, over 200,000 deaths (in 2015 alone) are credited to complications due to diabetes (as a contributing cause of death). Here are more stats on diabetes (per the American Diabetes Association):

Statistics About Diabetes

Overall Numbers, Diabetes and Prediabetes

  • Prevalence: In 2015, 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, had diabetes.
    • Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes.
  • Undiagnosed: Of the 30.3 million adults with diabetes, 23.1 million were diagnosed, and 7.2 million were undiagnosed.
  • Prevalence in Seniors: The percentage of Americans age 65 and older remains high, at 25.2%, or 12.0 million seniors (diagnosed and undiagnosed).
  • New Cases: 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
  • Prediabetes: In 2015, 84.1 million Americans age 18 and older had prediabetes.
  • Deaths: Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States in 2015, with 79,535 death certificates listing it as the underlying cause of death, and a total of 252,806 death certificates listing diabetes as an underlying or contributing cause of death.

Diabetes in Youth

  • About 193,000 Americans under age 20 are estimated to have diagnosed diabetes, approximately 0.24% of that population.
  • In 2011—2012, the annual incidenceof diagnosed diabetes in youth was estimated at 17,900 with type 1 diabetes, 5,300 with type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes by Race/Ethnicity

The rates of diagnosed diabetes in adults by race/ethnic background are:

The breakdown among Asian Americans:

  • 3% for Chinese
  • 9% for Filipinos
  • 2% for Asian Indians
  • 5% for other Asian Americans.

The breakdown among Hispanic adults:

  • 5% for Central and South Americans
  • 0% for Cubans
  • 8% for Mexican Americans
  • 0% for Puerto Ricans.


Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2015 based on the 79,535 death certificates in which diabetes was listed as the underlying cause of death. In 2015, diabetes was mentioned as a cause of death in a total of 252,806 certificates.

Diabetes may be underreported as a cause of death. Studies have found that only about 35% to 40% of people with diabetes who died had diabetes listed anywhere on the death certificate and about 10% to 15% had it listed as the underlying cause of death.

Cost of Diabetes

Updated March 22, 2018

  • $327 billion: Total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2017
  • $237 billion for direct medical costs
  • $90 billion in reduced productivity

After adjusting for population age and sex differences, average medical expenditures among people with diagnosed diabetes were 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.

Read more about the results of the study “Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2017.”

There are 9 symptoms that are associated with both types:

  • Increased urine output
  • Excessive thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Skin problems
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Yeast infections and
  • Tingling or numbness of toes

To date scientists, researchers and medical practitioners are still developing treatments and potential cures for both types of diabetes. Though there is no cure, the best way to avoid diabetes (or to control it) is through more healthful choices of lifestyle, diet and stress management.

In summation, information, knowledge and application of said knowledge is the best bet to avoiding (or controlling) diabetes. Remember, this is “thinking person’s fitness”- some assembly required.


You CAN stop Emotional Eating!!

Emotional eating is a very real problem in America today. When you are experiencing work stress, relationship clashes, financial strains, or health challenges, you and your body instantly look for an escape. Mindless eating becomes a temporary way to “soothe the savage beast”.

Emotional eating negatively impacts your sleep, weight, and mood. You can practice the following behaviors to wean yourself off of using food to ease your emotional pain.


Practice relaxing techniques.

Deep breathing, visualization, and meditation are helpful methods to combat both emotional and physical stress.

Enter herbal tea.

As simple as it may sound, drinking a cup of your favorite herbal tea may chase away the urge for chips, cookies, or candy. You don’t need to spend a lot of money at a health food store because chamomile, valerian, or decaffeinated green tea can be bought at your grocery store.

Take an inventory of your kitchen.

Purge the food items that are high in sugar, high in calories, and that do not have any nutritional value.

Sing or dance.

Lifting your spirits with creative activities will improve your mood.

Bring a pet into your life.

Household pets have remarkable effects on our psyche. A beloved pet will soothe you, distract you, and alter your self-destructive behavior.

Keep a journal of your eating habits.

A written record of what you eat and when you eat it will bring to light how food affects your mood.

Try to find solutions to your emotional eating triggers.

Not all problems can be solved easily, but supplementary income can help with financial matters. If there is work stress, more efficient work habits might reduce your frustration at your job. Calm discussions will bring more peaceful resolutions to personal conflicts with the people in your life.


Get active.

When it comes to stress and depression, exercise is, indeed, a powerful remedy. An important thing to consider about exercise is that you should choose an activity that you physically enjoy. Remember, exercise is not a miracle worker, but it will elevate your mind so that food is not your sole source of comfort.


Find a hobby.

One of the best ways to spend idle time is to immerse yourself in a hobby. You do not have to have an extravagant or expensive hobby to benefit from the joy and self- expression that you will feel when you are engaged in a hobby. Adult coloring books have been touted to be the newest trend for relaxation and creativity. Lastly, laughter- it’s free and easy. Various faiths throughout history have attested to the power of laughter to lift the spirits and to forget about your troubles.

Emotional eating can’t be fixed with prescription drugs or fad diets. There are no diagnostic tests to confirm that you are an emotional eater. This addiction to food is a personal battle that can be won by identifying your triggers, adopting new habits, and staying motivated. If you fail, you must forgive yourself and know that you can continue to try again until you no longer feel helpless about food.

Knowledge of self is one of the “master keys” to winning in life. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!

5 Exercises You Can Do Anywhere 

There are hundreds of exercises that you can do without having to go to the gym. They are also extremely beneficial for people with busy lifestyles for maintaining a strong body. In general, they are isolation exercises that use the body’s natural movements against the force of gravity. This somewhat contradicts the notion that heavy weights must be utilized to make the body stronger. Nothing could be more further from the truth if physical endurance and functionality are the goals.

In order for these exercises to be effective, they must target the largest muscle groups. When large muscles are activated and stimulated, they have the ability to incorporate smaller muscles. No equipment is required to activate large muscles. However, a certain degree of mind-muscle connection is encouraged to make the most of a spontaneous workout.

Wall “Lean and Grab”

This exercise is great when a person is waiting at an airport, bus stop, or office waiting room. It activates the largest muscles in the shoulders, chest, and arms.

Outstretch the arms, and lean against any wall at about a 35 degree angle.
Tense all the muscles in the torso.
Use the flexibility of the arms and hands to press against the wall.
Mimic a vertical push-up, or pretend to push the wall over.
Continue for several minutes, while breathing in a controlled tempo.

Spontaneous Standing

Most people sit and wait completely motionless. Use a waiting period to tone all of the muscles in the lower body. If people ask about the activity, explain that its for health.

With a good posture, simply sit and stand using a nearby chair or bench.
Try tensing the leg muscles as if you were doing a weighted squat in a gym.
At the top, do not lock your knees, but tense your legs for a few seconds by pushing outward with the hips.

Super Stairs

Climbing stairs is one of the most beneficial exercises for the lower body, the back, and the cardiovascular system.

When climbing a flight of stairs, press through each step with the heels of the feet, not the toes.
As the climbing leg pushes, clench the buttocks and fully extend the calves.
If there is time, climb a flight of stairs several times.

Back Squeezes

While sitting on a plane, in a cab, or in an office take advantage of a seat to work your back muscles.

Sit with good posture and the hips solidly wedged into the chair corner.
As if hugging the cushion in reverse, try to pinch the seat with your shoulder blades.
Perform this “back hug” with a slightly downward angle to target the lower back.

The Classic Vacuum

Ab and core workouts can be done virtually anywhere. This includes sitting, standing, and walking periods. This exercise loosens the hip flexors, builds the lower back, and strengthens the abs.

Start by exhaling fully.
Tense all core muscles, or imagine pulling the bellybutton to the spine.
If performed correctly, the ribcage will be drawn downward. It should feel as if you are preparing to take a punch in the gut.
Hold this position for as long as possible, until you need a breath, or become fatigued.
As I often say, this is “thinking person’s fitness”- some assembly is required.

Different Types of Heart Disease

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please see your primary care provider for all things health/wellness related.

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease they say is like an umbrella term which describes conditions and disorders which caused the functioning and structuring of the heart. Most common heart conditions are heart valve diseases, heart failure, congenital heart diseases, heart muscle diseases or irregular heart rhythms. Some of these conditions are a result of our different lifestyle disorder and are inherent in nature, while other were develop over a period.

Here are the types of heart disease and its symptoms.

Arrhythmia – An arrhythmia is a heart rhythm abnormality.
Symptoms: fluttering heart or racing heartbeat chest pain, lightheadedness

Atherosclerosis – Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries.
Symptoms: reduces blood supply to your extremities, shortness of breath, coldness and numbness in the limbs, unusual or unexplained pain

Cardiomyopathy- This condition causes the heart’s muscles to harden or grow weak.
Symptoms: fatigue and shortness of breath, bloating, swollen legs, especially ankles and feet, pounding or rapid pulse

Congenital heart disease –  Most heart defects are heart irregularities that are present at birth.
Symptoms: blue-tinged skin, swelling of the extremities, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue and low energy, irregular heart rhythm

Coronary artery disease (CAD). – CAD is caused by the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries. It’s sometimes called ischemic heart disease.
Symptoms: Chest pain and shortness of breath, Sweating, Nausea, Irregular heartbeat

Heart infections – Heart infections may be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites.
Symptoms: a feeling of pressure or squeezing in the chest. Feelings of indigestion or gas, chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath and nausea

As they say, knowledge is power. Knowledge about health (in this case, heart health) is the key to avoiding heart disease and enjoying optimal health. Defeat heart disease by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, namely diet, exercise and limits on stress. Knowledge about health as well as your own body, is essential to getting the most out of life. Knowledge is the most important of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.




Why do We Fear Failure?

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice from a certified physician. Please consult your primary care provider for all things health/wellness related.

The fear of failure stems from a fear of rejection and criticism from others. While the fear of failure is scary for all of us, all failure simply means is that you did not succeed this time. However, while some of us fear failure, others embrace it as a learning experience. Being able to view failure in a positive light is essential to leading a happy and successful life.

Understanding why we fear failure is important in overcoming that fear. Once you understand where the fear comes from, you can then begin to move towards conquering your fear and reaching your goals. Fear of failure stems from a fear of rejection and criticism. People tend to worry that people will judge them if they fail and, as a result, that people will think less of them.

Facing Our Fear

The second step in overcoming our fear of failure is to face that fear. In order to do this, we must first accept that failure is an inevitable part of life. We all fail. In fact, everyone in the history of mankind has failed at one point or another. After we accept that we will at some point in our life fail, we must learn how to face this reality. Here are a couple of steps that can help you face your fear of failure.  Take Action

Confront and conquer your fears.

Often, our immediate reaction to fear is to become immobilized by it. As a result, we may procrastinate a task that intimidates us, or decide not to go to the work holiday party out of fear of making an embarrassing social blunder. The way to overcome this gut reaction is to face it head on. Do the thing that scares you. If you are afraid of screwing up an assignment, dive into it with everything you have. If you are scared of a social situation, go with the intention of making one new friend. By tackling our fears head on, we reduce the power they have over us, and therefore are able to conquer them.

Embrace Your Mistakes

One of the key traits of successful people is that they do not view failure as a defeat. Rather, they view it as a learning opportunity from which their future success will stem. It is important to stop giving yourself a hard time when you make a mistake. Mistakes are inevitable and can serve as valuable learning experiences. In fact, we as people only really learn through our mistakes. People who embrace their mistakes tend to be more creative and achieve success at a higher rate than those who do not.

Putting Fear Behind You

Once you have faced the fear of failure it is possible to overcome it. In order to do this, it is important not to take failure personally. Failing at something does not reflect on you directly as a person. Rather, failure stems from outcomes that resulted from inputs and actions. By changing these actions and inputs, you will be able to change the outcome. Below are a few ways you can overcome your fear of failure.

It is NOT Failure, it Is Feedback

It is important to remember that failure is actually just one step of the learning process. it is how we know what doesn’t work and what we need to do differently next time. Failure does not mean we are flawed, undeserving, incompetent, or at the end of the process. It just means that we need to adjust our approach and actions.

We can overcome our fear of failing the next time, by using the lessons we learned by our failures, and using them to obtain different results the next time.

Don’t Give Up

Another way to overcome your fear of failure is to adopt a never surrender attitude toward life. Successful people never give up, especially in the face of failure. They just do not accept failure as an option. Instead of giving up, they try a different approach, method, or strategy. By simply refusing to give up, you can ensure that you are constantly moving in the direction of your goals.

Look for Opportunities

With every failure comes opportunity. Look for the opportunity in you failure. Whether it is an opportunity to learn something new, take a new approach, or make a fresh start, by focusing on the opportunity you will be able to overcome your fear of failure in the future.

Change Your Approach

If you know something you have done in the past did not work, change your approach. For example, if you were up for a promotion at work and did not receive it, ask yourself “what did I do last time and how can I do it differently this time?” Often, by changing our approach to a certain situation, we can completely change the outcome.

Ask For Help

Often we are too close to the situation to be able to view the solutions to our problems. By asking for help, we are inviting others to show us the way to our own success.

Failure is a part of life. It is a thing that makes or breaks most people. In summation, the fear of failure can define you and your life story. Do not allow it.

Recognizing what and where you need to change and grow is all in line with “The Total Self”. It is also an integral part of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

8 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise