"Exercise is the key: keeping the heart pumping and blood flowing"

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December 6, 2023

Can you share a bit about yourself, Gina?

My name is Gina Pryor, and my background is in health. I've been in healthcare for over 38 years, and I'm a mother of 3 and have 10 grandchildren. I love to dance, my family, and friends. I love to entertain.

How do you manage your chronic conditions?

I was in my 40s when I found out I had high blood pressure. So, I started with hydrochlorothiazide and have been able to maintain it. I have to be mindful about what I eat because I'm very sensitive. I recently went back to my cardiologist to check on my blood pressure. For me, it’s just about managing my blood pressure. I mean, that's just part of my life. I don't take it too seriously. I mean, I take it seriously, but I'm not going to let it worry me. It has worried me in the past what doctors have said. “You need to change your habits. Record your blood pressure and then come back and see me at such and such time.” I'm alright. I take my medications on time. I know though that stress can raise my blood pressure.

Any health habits you're working on?

I don't do any sodas. I may drink a little juice here and there, but I’m just mindful. I know I need fiber, and for me, flaxseed is the number one factor that will bring my cholesterol and blood pressure down. Walking exercise is good for me. Being mindful of what I eat and not a lot of fried foods. I cut back on fried foods. I use olive oil when I'm cooking. I do pay attention to my body.

What advice would you give someone with diabetes?

My advice to anybody is that exercising is the key. If you can do anything, walking or getting in the water and swimming, or some kind of movement, you just have to keep moving. That's going to keep your heart pumping and your blood flowing through your veins.

What challenges do you face?

I'm a grazer too, so I had to stop that grazing nibbling at nighttime. Also, being mindful and watching your food labels, how much sodium is in what. I don't use salt, I may use a little pink Himalayan salt, just a little bit.

Basically, what is hard is just consistency with my medications and with my eating. I try to control portions - certain things I really can't eat a lot of anyway.

Anything else you'd like to share or advice for your younger self?

My mom always said to me, 'Gina, take care of your health while you're young because when you get older, your health is going to take care of you.' So, to those who are young, you are only young for a little while. Take care of yourself while you can.

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