Heart of the Valley: How to use fitness and nutrition for the ultimate heart health

By: Stefany Rosales

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Channel 5’s Heart of the Valley initiative continues with a focus on how to manage and even prevent diabetes through fitness and nutrition.

Fitness and proper nutrition opens the door to many health benefits.

Eric Almendarez, sales manager of Perfect Body Studio in Harlingen, says working out helps control your glucose levels.

For a look at free diabetes screenings throughout the Valley during the month of April, visit our Heart of the Valley Diabetes page

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you have diabetes, being active makes your body more sensitive to the hormone that allows cells in your body to use blood sugar for energy.

Almendarez says Perfect Body Studio enjoys making their clients more aware when it comes to not just their fitness goals, but nutrition, as well.

“It’s always good to combine them both,” said Almendarez said. “Proper diet and exercise; that’s usually going to go a long way.”

According to the CDC, a proper diet can help manage diabetes and even prevent Type 2 diabetes. You can still eat the foods you like, but it’s best to enjoy them less often and incorporate more vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Yoga is also a helpful exercise that is a great tool for blood sugar management.

“With yoga, we practice exercise, controlled breathing and meditation,” said Paula Furlan Kimball, a yoga instructor at Whole Life Wellness Studios in Harlingen. “All of those together help with wellness, [and] with diabetes.”

Kimball says the three aspects of yoga that they practice leads to mind and body wellness, adding that twist poses in yoga are beneficial.

“In yoga, we do a lot of twisting, side twisting and those are very beneficial because it actually will stimulate the pancreas and where the insulin is produced,” Kimball said.

Kimball says you don’t have to be a professional when stepping on the mat; all you have to do is show up and dedicate some time for yourself.

“In yoga, you do you. There is nothing that is shameful. There is no judgement here,” Kimball said. “If you can’t do it that’s ok. Just show up on the mat and we’ll be here.”


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