(NewsUSA) - Everyone knows heart health is vital. Yet, more than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease every year -- or one in every four deaths -- according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By arming yourself with information about nutrition, fitness and lifestyle choices, you can reduce your risk for heart disease.
From picking protein-rich foods that are low in saturated fat to snoozing for the optimal amount of time each night, here are some valuable tips to keep your ticker happy:
* Get your protein from foods that are low in saturated fat. While a good steak or hamburger can be enjoyable, it is also high in saturated fat. Better choices are fish, poultry and nuts. If you want something even lighter, consider a protein shake. The Bowflex Body French Vanilla Fitness Shake (www.bowflexbody.com), for instance, offers 15 grams of protein per serving and a scant 1 gram of saturated fat. An added bonus is that these shakes activate the metabolism and help build muscle, burn calories and boost energy.
* Put down the smartphone. In today's world of 24/7 connectivity, it's important to unplug from work, email and devices for at least an hour a day. This helps reduce stress, which is important for keeping your blood pressure and heart rate levels from going too high.
* Get some rest. Experts recommend aiming for around seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Consistently getting too few or too many zzz's can be unhealthy.
* Move your body. A recent study from the University of Cambridge determined that inactivity is more dangerous to your body than obesity. There are limitless activities to get your heart pumping, such as walking, swimming or biking, to name a few. Looking for a workout you can do at home? The Bowflex TreadClimber (www.treadclimber.com) combines the motions of a treadmill, a stair climber and an elliptical for a comfortable low-impact workout that delivers high-impact results.
* Free your inner social butterfly. Better yet, work out with a buddy to help keep you motivated and on track. Research shows that having a strong social network and spending time with others can help reduce blood pressure and other heart disease-related factors.
"Even small steps, like adding one strength-training workout a week, can make a big impact," says Tom Holland, Bowflex Fitness Advisor and "Beat the Gym" author. "Plus, the Internet is a great resource to find more tips and information."
For a good place to start, visit www.bowflexinsider.com.
(NewsUSA) - Back in December of 2014, Congress passed a spending bill that will fund the government through September of 2015. That's good, right? No government shut-down. However, this spending bill includes yet another funding haircut for the IRS, which is probably going to make your life a little worse this tax season. This "haircut" means roughly $350 million in spending cuts.
So, how might that affect you this tax season? Well, for one thing, your odds of getting through to the IRS Help Line while you're still in your youth have gone from slim to none, now that IRS funding has been reduced to 3 percent less than last year and $1.5 billion below the president's requested amount. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson was predicting before the cuts that 2015 would bring us the "worst filing season" in years. No crystal ball is needed to see that administering more than 40 new provisions under the Affordable Care Act for the first time this year is going to call for more IRS staff standing by to answer questions, not fewer.
In December, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told reporters that, in the last four years, the IRS budget has been cut by approximately $1.2 billion, and its staff reduced by about 13,000. IRS's $11.3 billion budget for 2014 was 7 percent below the level appropriated in 2010. On top of frustrating taxpayers in need of answers, Koskinen predicts that the reductions in staff will result in nearly $2 billion in uncollected revenue this year.
If the idea of hanging on hold with the IRS for hours isn't appealing to you, this may be the year for you to join the nearly 60 percent of U.S. taxpayers who hire a paid preparer. Licensed preparers know the intricate and constantly changing tax laws, regulations and codes, and how they can be applied for your benefit to save you money.
Enrolled agents, America's tax experts, are required to complete IRS-approved annual continuing education, ensuring that they have the most up-to-date strategies to make sure you pay only what you owe and get any refunds you are due. Enrolled agents not only specialize in tax preparation and tax planning, they can also represent you before the IRS.
Find an enrolled agent in your area on the "Find an EA" directory at www.naea.org.