Harnessing Fitness to Combat Chronic Disease: An Evidence-Based Approach
In the modern era, where chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and increased BMI, are on the rise, the quest for effective management strategies has never been more critical. Among the myriad of interventions available, physical fitness emerges not just as a preventive measure but as a cornerstone of chronic disease management. This blog post delves into Hazlo Health's evidence-based practice surrounding fitness and its role in combating chronic diseases, offering insights and practical advice for individuals looking to enhance their health outcomes.
The Science of Fitness and Chronic Disease Management
1. Cardiovascular Health:
A wealth of research underscores the benefits of regular aerobic exercise for heart health. According to the American Heart Association, engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Aerobic exercises, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, improve heart efficiency, lower blood pressure, and increase HDL cholesterol levels, thereby diminishing cardiovascular risk factors.
2. Diabetes Management:
For individuals battling diabetes, particularly Type 2, incorporating fitness into daily routines can be transformative. A study published in the, Journal of the American Medical Association found that structured exercise, including aerobic, resistance, or a combination of both, was associated with a decrease in HbA1c levels, a marker of blood sugar control. Regular physical activity enhances insulin sensitivity, enabling more effective glucose management.
3. Increased BMI and Weight Control:
Physical activity is a pivotal component of obesity management and prevention. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that consistent exercise, coupled with dietary changes, leads to sustained weight loss and prevents the regain of lost weight. Resistance training, in particular, builds muscle mass, which in turn boosts metabolism and increases the body's resting energy expenditure.
4. Mental Health Benefits:
The psychological benefits of exercise are profound, especially for individuals with chronic conditions who may also suffer from depression or anxiety. The British Journal of Sports Medicine, highlights that regular physical activity significantly reduces symptoms of depression, attributing this effect to the release of endorphins and the enhancement of overall well-being.
Implementing Fitness into Your Chronic Disease Management Plan
Begin with low-impact exercises and gradually increase intensity and duration. Consult with a healthcare provider to tailor a fitness plan that aligns with your health status and goals.
Mix different types of physical activities to keep your routine engaging and cover various aspects of fitness, including strength, flexibility, and endurance.
Set Realistic Goals:
Establish achievable milestones to maintain motivation. Celebrate progress, no matter how small, to build confidence and commitment.
Joining a fitness group or enlisting the help of a personal trainer can provide encouragement and accountability. Additionally, many communities offer programs specifically designed for individuals with chronic conditions.
Monitor Your Health:
Keep track of your health & fitness progress and how it impacts your chronic disease markers (e.g., blood pressure, blood sugar levels). Share these outcomes with your healthcare team to adjust your management plan as needed.
The evidence is clear: incorporating fitness into your lifestyle is a powerful strategy for managing and preventing chronic diseases. By embracing physical activity, individuals can significantly improve their quality of life, enhance health outcomes, and potentially reduce their reliance on medication. Remember, the journey to better health through fitness is personal and incremental; every step forward is a victory in the battle against chronic disease.
- American Heart Association. (2024). Guidelines for Physical Activity.
- Journal of the American Medical Association, "Effects of Exercise on Glycemic Control and Body Mass in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.”
- New England Journal of Medicine, "Long-term Weight Loss and Changes in Blood Pressure.”
- British Journal of Sports Medicine*, "Exercise for Depression.”
This blog post synthesizes current research to underscore the critical role of fitness in managing chronic diseases. By adhering to evidence-based practices, individuals can make informed decisions about incorporating physical activity into their health care regimen, paving the way for improved outcomes and a healthier future.
2022 Pitch Competition Winner Aims To Better Serve Community Health Needs
Hazlo Health was the winner of the 2022 Minority Small Business Summit Pitch Competition. Learn how the funding has helped their business over the past year.
Omaha, Nebraska – Hazlo Health, the winner of last year’s Minority Small Business Summit Pitch Competition, has put its first-place award to use in several ways that will ultimately address the growing health care needs of the region’s underserved communities.
“For us to receive the $10,000 first place prize at that stage of our development has helped tremendously,” says owner and co-founder Bruno Caro, APRN-C. “We have used the funds for our rebranding, for legal fees associated with starting a business, and to advance the development of our mobile app so we can expand our services.”
In addition to the award from the Minority Small Business Summit Pitch Competition, Hazlo Health has received a $75,000 grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Caro says the company hopes to soft launch its mobile app in June and make the service fully operational in August.
"We have 35 patients now as our pilot group,” Caro says. “We believe 2023 will be a big year for us.”
This year’s Minority Small Business Summit, to be held June 8 at Seventy Five North – The Venue, at 2112 N. 30th St. in Omaha, gives minority small business owners and entrepreneurs a chance to network, participate in educational sessions and connect with community resources.
The conference will again feature the Minority Small Business Summit Pitch Competition, with five finalists competing for funding for their businesses. First place is worth $10,000, while second place is $5,000, and $1,000 for placing third, fourth, or fifth.
Applications for the competition are open until May 5. For any questions about the pitch competition, contact Elizabeth Hallgren at email@example.com.
“Last year was our first year doing the pitch competition, and we had a great turn out,” says Kiley Phelps, Omaha Center Director, America’s SBDC – Nebraska, a program of the Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC). “The finalists had really exceptional ideas and businesses, and we are eager to see the finalists for this year’s competition.”
The summit is sponsored by Omaha West Rotary Club, Greater Omaha Chamber REACH, Security National Bank, Lamson Dugan & Murray Law, and the NBDC. Tickets are free.
Hazlo Health, which in Spanish means “do it,” was founded in 2022 by Caro along with Mark Huber, APRN-C; Nicholas Arreola, Ph.D.; and Joe Petsick. The Omaha-based company aims to provide support between doctor visits for people in historically underserved and minority communities who have chronic health conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes and elevated cholesterol.
Eventually, patients can use the Hazlo Health app to receive guidance on health issues. “We are here to supplement the patients’ medical practitioners, not replace them,” Caro says. “Once their doctors make a diagnosis, we are here 24/7 through the app to help with nutrition, fitness and lifestyle guidance, and to answer other general health questions.”
Hazlo Health services are covered by the patient’s insurance, through Medicare or Medicaid, or through a subscription plan, Caro says. He says the company recently signed a letter of intent with a large local health organization to direct patients to Hazlo Health.
“We have a road map for expansion that will make our services available through community health centers across Nebraska and in surrounding states as well,” Caro says. “Winning last year’s pitch competition has really brought us closer to our goal of serving the health care needs of people who need it the most.”
Six Nebraska companies among the NMotion Growth Accelerator 2023 cohort
The NMotion Growth Accelerator is a 12-week investment-for-equity accelerator that provides selected startups access to experienced entrepreneurs, industry experts and investors who can help them refine their business models, develop their products, and prepare to fundraise. Keep reading to meet the 2023 cohort.
Six Nebraska startups are each on their way to receiving a $100,000 investment as part of the next NMotion Growth Accelerator cohort, which launches today. The cohort includes eight companies that span from climate tech to agribusiness to SaaS to fintech to healthtech.
The startup founders posed for a photo with NMotion staff after the announcement Wednesday.
From left: Luke Templin, Hunter Dorhout, Ramsey Shaffer, Devon Seacrest, Mason Cook, Dorothy Johnson, Nicholas Arreola, Nate Clark, Scott Henderson, Jessica Korinek, Bruno Caro, Zachary Oshinbanjo, Jennifer Lea, Kent Campbell and Sam Cartford.
Continue to the bottom of the story for more information on the cohort companies.
The NMotion Growth Accelerator is a 12-week investment-for-equity accelerator that provides selected startups access to experienced entrepreneurs, industry experts and investors who can help them refine their business models, develop their products, and prepare to raise money.
In addition to mentorship and education, the NMotion Growth Accelerator provides selected companies with funding, office space and other resources to help them grow their businesses. The program is designed to help startups navigate the challenges of building and scaling a successful company, and to help them achieve their goals more effectively than they might be able to on their own.
Each company in the cohort receives $100K of guaranteed funding in return for 7.5% equity in their company using a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE). Plus, lifetime access to the NMotion powered by gener8tor network, according to the NMotion website.
“Our team has been working since January to find the best and brightest startups and we’re excited to help accelerate the growth of these eight,” said Mason Cook, NMotion managing director. “Now the real work begins.”
The eight-company cohort was picked from 217 applicants. Of those applicants, 72% were underrepresented founders, including 30% that were women. The pool included 57 companies from Nebraska. The target geography for the accelerator is Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri.
“We’re grateful to our investors and community partners who helped us secure the largest number of applications in our history,” said Scott Henderson, NMotion managing principal. “It’s further proof that great trees never grow alone.”
Henderson said that companies are selected based on the following criteria:
- Market traction that validates the product
- Founding team capable of rapidly executing their idea
- Business model with potential to scale to $100M+ in revenue
- Efficient use of capital aligning energy and resources to revenue
- Concentration in areas where NMotion can provide exceptional value
The rigorous 12-week program includes one-on-one coaching sessions, networking with mentors, cohort roundtables and community events. The accelerator will take place between Omaha and Lincoln, alongside a virtual component. The first half of the session will be broken down into three two-week sprints with each company focused on generating customer revenue and traction to prepare them for their next investment round. Founders will have the opportunity to pitch up to 50 investors during the last three weeks of the cohort. The program ends with the NMotion Showcase celebrating the cohort’s accomplishments on August 3 at Millwork Commons.
Past participants continue to reach new milestones following their time in the accelerator. Tigga, a company that creates plant-based food products using the Baobab superfruit, and Microwash, developers of a device that collects nasal specimens for COVID-19 testing, are two examples.
“Tiiga took advantage of their time in the 2022 cohort to ramp up their ecommerce sales which helped them raise a new $450,000 investment round,” Cook said. “Out of the same cohort, Microwash focused efforts on securing letters of intent from testing labs that helped them close $1M (and counting) in additional investments.”
The accelerator program has helped participating startups focus on driving revenue growth, keep each other accountable and create meaningful connections to interested mentors and investors.
Meet the 2023 Cohort Companies
Entry Envy – Entry Envy offers a customizable solution to enhance the curb appeal and identification of homes with flower box custom signs that can be maintained with a subscription to seasonal decor refills.
Nave Analytics – Nave Analytics has developed a crop-specific solution that utilizes technology to derive root zone soil moisture levels in order to provide data-enabled irrigation recommendations to farmers, while minimizing the need for additional devices and associated costs.
ThermOptical Cooling – ThermOptical Cooling offers advanced energy and thermal management laser solutions for the solar, battery, and semiconductor industries with the aim of enhancing climate tech components such as solar cells, electrodes, heat spreaders, and heat sinks for a cleaner energy future.
FinDaily – FinDaily.io provides an automated daily email service that delivers business owners a summary of their essential accounting, banking and metrics.
Hazlo Health – Hazlo Health has developed a HIPAA compliant app that allows healthcare providers to integrate their care plans for chronic disease patients in order to provide coaching and support in between visits.
Invisible Code Buddy – CodeBuddy is a SaaS platform that helps software companies and developers complete complex coding tasks faster by providing just-in-time code examples and training, which in turn reduces development costs.
Babbl Labs – Babbl is an AI platform that helps DIY investors keep track of market-moving news by detecting sentiment, trends, and events in finance articles, tweets, and blog posts using proprietary algorithms that parse through thousands of such sources each day.
Vetelligence – Vetelligence provides skill assessment and customized pathways for military service members to transition into technology careers.
Stay tuned! We’ll follow along with the cohort for the next 12 weeks and bring you an update on progress after the final showcase in August.