Tag: PAD and exercise

Here’s How the Benefits of Chocolate Can Help Arteries!

Maybe you’ve heard about the benefits of chocolate? But, you’re not sure how they can help your life? Well, chocolate lovers, rejoice: science suggests that eating cocoa can improve function in your arteries!

Now, before you grab for the Snickers bars, you’ll want to read more. Not all kinds of chocolate are considered beneficial; the type of chocolate we’ll be talking about in this post is unprocessed, undutched cocoa powder. Let’s take a closer look at what this kind of cocoa can do for your blood vessels: benefits of chocolate

 

Benefits of Chocolate: Cocoa Can Improve Blood Flow

Here’s an exciting fact! Within two hours of eating this kind of cocoa, your coronary arteries start working better. That means the vessels in your eyes are able to dilate more quickly. And what about the vessels in your legs? Well, the impact in that area is even more exciting!

Recently, researchers tested 20 patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease to see how cocoa could affect their ability to walk. Remember, with this condition, narrowed arteries lead to reduced blood flow to your legs. As a result, PAD patients often experience painful leg cramps, especially when they walk or exercise, because their legs don’t receive enough blood and oxygen to support increased activity.

During this study, the PAD patients walked for as long as they could, and stopped when they experienced leg cramps. Then, they were given one of two types of chocolate: unsweetened dark chocolate or milk chocolate. Two hours after eating the milk chocolate, the PAD sufferers were barely able to walk their initial baseline distance. But two hours after having unsweetened cocoa, they walked a dozen yards farther and an average of 17 seconds longer than their baseline distances.

Is it time to become chocoholics?

Because people love chocolate, they also love to go on and on about the benefits of chocolate.  (And it does have many.) BUT, we must also remember that even dark, unsweetened cocoa is packed with fat and calories. So it’s a potentially beneficial treat that should still be enjoyed in moderation.

Having said that, we all need to indulge a little. So, when you’re ready to make a little cheat? If your cravings steer you towards the chocolate aisle, look for the dark stuff and you may just score a little extra time to walk it off pain-free, after you’re done snacking!

Beyond Diet: Other PAD Treatment Options

Diet alone is usually not enough to treat PAD symptoms. (Even with the benefits of chocolate, or other heart-friendly dietary additions.) Now, exercise can certainly help improve blood flow in your body. And walking workouts can be particularly beneficial, as long as you’re medically cleared for this activity.

Still, most people with advanced PAD will need some sort of medical intervention. Fortunately, in our Houston area offices, we can treat PAD with minimally invasive procedures such as Angioplasty, Stenting, and Atherectomy. hat With most of these options, you won’t need an overnight hospital stay, large incisions or open surgery. That means a shorter recovery time without sacrificing the results you’re seeking.

Want relief from PAD pain? We’re here to help! Simply reach out and schedule an appointment with our team. We can assess your PAD risk and help determine your best next steps to preserve your long-term health.

Move It Monday: Benefits of Walking Workouts

Are you ready to embrace the benefits of walking? We know that maintaining a regular (physician approved) exercise program can help you slow the progression of vein disease, while also lowering your risk of experiencing associated complications, but we also know that it can be tough to get started.

Frequent exercise, like taking walks, can help manage the pain of PAD

To help you get motivated, our Texas Endovascular Team regularly shares Move it Monday fitness inspiration! If you like it what you see, incorporate the workout in to your routine! Not your jam? Come back another time for more motivation!

On the schedule this week: A Beginner’s Walking Schedule, courtesy of VeryWellFit.com: Before beginning, check your posture to make sure your chin is up, you’re standing straight, and you’re not leaning forward or backward while you move. Walk at an easy pace for a few minutes before speeding up. Wear supportive shoes and comfy clothing. You can do your walking outdoors, indoors, or on a treadmill.

The Right Way to Begin a Walking Workout Program

In order to enjoy some of the benefits of walking, you actually have to get your body moving! Here’s a four-week plan for moving more and helping your body enjoy the results.

Week 1: Start with a daily 15-minute walk at an easy pace. Walk five days the first week. You want to build a habit, so consistency is important. Spread out your rest days, such as making day 3 a rest day and day 6 a rest day.

Weekly total goal: 60 to 75 minutes.

Week 2: Add five minutes a day so you are walking for 20 minutes, five days a week. Or, you may wish to extend yourself more on some days, followed by a rest day.

Weekly total goal: 75 to 100 minutes.

Week 3: Add five minutes a day so you are walking for 25 minutes, five days a week.

Weekly total goal: 100 to 125 minutes.

Week 4: Add five minutes a day to walk for 30 minutes, five days a week.

Weekly total goal: 125 to 150 minutes.

Snags: If you find any week to be difficult, repeat that week rather than adding more time. Do this until you are able to progress comfortably.

Benefits of Walking: Improve Your PAD Symptoms

Low impact workouts are a great choice for any one looking to increase your activity level. But, as vein specialists, we especially recommend walking to our PAD patients. That’s because PAD pain often pops up when you walk, making this simple-yet-crucial task very difficult.

Why is walking so hard when you have PAD? It’s because of atherosclerosis, which is when plaque builds up in your leg arteries. This plaque blocks oxygen and nutrients from getting to your legs when they fire up to get you moving. So, when you have PAD and you start moving, you may experience the pain of that oxygen deprivation.

But, even though PAD makes walking hurt, that very movement can help you manage PAD symptoms. The more you walk, the better your muscles learn to adapt to their limited blood supply. And, as your muscles adapt, you’ll be able to walk for longer periods before that PAD pain pops up and slows you down. angioplasty for PAD

That’s why walking programs like the one we just introduced can be helpful for PAD patients, helping improve , your muscle strength as well as your ability to balance and complete your daily tasks. Also, as your calf muscles get stronger, your circulation may improve. And, if you dramatically improve your lifestyle habits as you embrace more movement, you may stop PAD progression as you research more permanent treatment options. (See the image at right for one PAD treatment option.)

Now, your walking results won’t be instant: you may need to stick to the program for as long as three months before seeing symptom improvements. Now, as always, check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise programs. If you have any questions about your ability to exercise with an endovascular condition, come in to our offices for a consultation with Dr. Fox or Dr. Hardee.its of

 

Sources: www.verywellfit.com, Cardiosmart.org

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