Heart disease is preventable in most cases with simple lifestyle changes, according to this new book from the respected Mayo Clinic. It calls its program “Eat 5, Move 10, Sleep 8” program: Eat five daily servings of fruit and vegetables, add 10 minutes per day of moderately intense physical activity to your current fitness regime, and sleep eight hours a night. “If you can do this,” the experts write, “good results will follow.” The book also offers familiar tips for keeping your heart healthy, including quitting smoking, losing weight, taking any needed medications and reducing stress. And it recommends alternative treatments such as meditation and music therapy, which “may lower blood pressure and heart rate in people with heart disease.”
If your joints can’t take the pounding of many exercise programs, Ellen Barrett’s DVD may have something to offer. Grace+Gusto incorporates ballet, Pilates and light cardio in a program that she says is “deceptively challenging; it feels so good you won’t realize how hard you worked until the day after.” And, in fact, the exercises do seem simple — and they do cause you to break into a sweat. One reason is that this 45-minute workout — alternating between toning exercises and lengthening stretches — is nonstop, so have your water bottle handy. Barrett claims that her program “gives energy rather than zaps it,” and since there are no pounding exercises, your joints won’t feel achy.