By Airman 1st Class Scott Poe
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The heart is often used as symbol of love. In order to love, you must live, and in order to live your heart must stay healthy.
There are many things you can do to show a little love to your heart. Exercise and diet are major contributors to heart health.
“If you exercise like a slug, you will become a slug,” said Jeff Vaughn, the 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron health and wellness flight chief/health educator. “If you exercise like a race horse, you will become a race horse; it’s your choice. The key to a strong heart is a strong healthy person, which also includes a healthy diet.”
Becoming more conscience of what you eat and having a weekly fitness routine is vital to one’s health.
Vaughn said that a fitness program should target the whole body and should address strength, aerobic performance and flexibility.
“As we age, strength and flexibility become more important than aerobic performance,” said Vaughn. “A well-designed strength circuit program will provide three times the aerobic benefits of walking around the block plus improving strength and flexibility.”
Although grabbing an energy drink and a microwavable meal is quick and easy, it is not what your body needs. Vaughn has an easy solution to eating healthy, natural foods.
“The rule of thumb for food should be: can I kill it, gather it or grow it? It should take no more than one or two steps from the food source to the stomach,” said Vaughn.
Capt. Tiffany Walker, a 19th Medical Group primary care physician, recommends a diet that is low in saturated fats, cholesterol, simple sugars and sodium along with adding some fruits, vegetables, lean protein, complex carbohydrates and plenty of water.
Diet and exercise are vital to heart health, but there are bad habits that are detrimental.
“Tobacco significantly increases the risk of heart disease,” said Walker. “Cigarette smokers are two to four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.”
If you are ready to quit, or know someone who is, call the 19th Medical Group at (501) 987-8811 to sign up for a smoking cessation class, or contact the State Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit smokefree.gov.
The Health and Wellness Center is located in the fitness center and offers many heart healthy classes.
To learn more about the classes call (501) 987-7398. For more nutritional and fitness tips, “like” the Little Rock AFB HAWC’s Facebook page, where they post workouts and healthy food choices that will keep your heart happy.
Leadership Pathways also offer classes that can help you keep your heart healthy.
The most up-to-date Leadership Pathways course catalog, frequently asked questions and registration instructions are located on the base website at www.littlerock.af.mil/leadershippathways. For more information on heart health visit: http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/what_you_can_do.htm or http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/