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Best Apps for Good Heart Health

For healthy maintenance, diet and exercise can't be beat

John Huthmacher Staff Reporter
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Odds are, you are going to live to be reasonably old, and bad health is going to follow you all the way there. Who wants to live like that?
- Michael Tushaus, Emmy-award winning cinematographer


No one understands a mother’s influence on the topic of heart health more than Emmy-award winning cinematographer Michael Tushaus.

The 45-year-old videographer and Digisphere Productions founder has been driven to examine his fitness and diet choices by both his mother and mother-in-law, but for different reasons.

In the case of his mother-in-law, a former circus performer, his motivation to stay fit comes from her vibrant and “incredibly active” lifestyle at age 73, he said. With his own mother, it has been watching her bounce back from triple bypass surgery some 10 years earlier that has inspired him to stay the course with regard to his daily health routine.

“Odds are, you are going to live to be reasonably old, and bad health is going to follow you all the way there,” he said. “Who wants to live like that? I have a very physical job where a lot of times I’m doing shoots anywhere between 12-15 hours per day, carrying around camera gear that’s 40-50 pounds. With that in mind, I have to keep myself in shape, which becomes a lot more of a challenge the older you get."

Living Right Does a Body Good

Numbers don't lie: Heart disease is serious business. According to the Centers for Disease Control, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, claiming the life of one American every 37 seconds. It is responsible for the deaths of roughly 647,000 Americans each year.

“It’s all about preventative healthcare Instead of putting a Band-Aid on the wound," Tushaus said. "You can live well into your mid-80s and feel good if you have a proactive lifestyle. Good diet and exercise stimulates your body into repair mode, where your body starts to release cells that actually start to repair things.”

Using a variety of apps like Instant Heart Rate, Smart BP, Global Coherence, MyFitnessPal, and others has helped him maintain a well-balanced diet and exercise regimen that includes 8-10 mile bicycle rides and regular visits to the gym.

Keeping tabs on his eating, drinking, and exercise habits have empowered him to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Utilizing apps like Instant Heart Rate can enable users to record their heart rate and organize data that keep tabs on their latest readings.

The Smart BP app can then take blood pressure data collected from multiple sources and share that information with the user’s doctor with a press of a button. Global Coherence collects information on those factors that influence one’s mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. The data can then be evaluated within group sessions, where meditation and conversation are utilized to relieve stress and promote harmony of being.

Moderation is Key to Keeping the Beat 

If it were easy, everyone would surely embrace a healthy lifestyle. But as Tushaus observes, the road to health is paved with tasty temptations that can derail even the strongest will. Even so, the occasional slip doesn’t need to become a habit, he said.

“I don’t want to give up having any fun in life, but if you are throwing caution to the wind every day, your body is going to revolt at some point,” he said. “Everything within reason, everything in moderation. That was the mantra of my grandmother, who died 2 days short of 102.

“She would have a beer or cream soda once in a while or a cookie, but she was all about being moderate about these things. In today's society, Americans have lost their impulse control, and it reflects on how we treat our diets.”

Apps Can Help You Establish Healthy Habits

In her role as YMCA‘s Wellness Director, Erika Knott has seen her fair share of heart-related success and failure stories. She regards apps as valuable tools to help committed individuals achieve their fitness and healthy eating goals.

“Apps can take the guesswork out of things,” she said. “We have our phones all the time, so for people who are competitive and working on improving themselves, it’s great to have that information at hand. When you are recording your workouts or eating, it keeps you accountable.

“Obviously our heart takes a big load of work. It beats about 2.5 billion times over someone’s lifetime, so that’s a lot of pushing and flowing of blood. If we don’t take care of it, that’s when you see health issues such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.”

In most instances, such ailments can be postponed well into one’s twilight years by following the tried and true practices of a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

“The best things we can do to take care of our hearts are to eat healthy, exercise regularly and not smoke,” she said. “Those things really help your heart keep moving.

"We're not expected to be perfect, just do things in moderation. You don’t have to run marathons to be healthy. We just need to start small and build on that recommended 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.” 


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