Exercise tips for heart problems Healthy heart Part 1

A guide. Reassurance for heart patients involved in exercise! If you have a heart, these articles are for you!

Part 1: An overview

Learn exercise tips to promote a healthy heart and minimize problems! Exercise strengthens the heart muscle regardless of our age or condition, heart issues or none. The heart is arguably the most incredible and wonderful organ that we have.

The heart is a muscle. Unlike other muscles, with this one, if we don’t have it or if it is malfunctioning, we die. We can not survive without it. There are many genius cardiac surgeons and they are some of the best sources to seek out for gaining the intricate details of how a heart operates and its impact on the body. DR. David Tirone, Cardiac Surgeon (Email: tirone.david@uhn.on.ca) and DR. Paul Stelzer, Cardiac Surgeon (Email: pstelzer@ps4ross.com) are two examples of surgeon’s excelling in their field.

Every single person should be reading this as though it pertains to them, because it does (and yes, this means you!) But, unfortunately, most people will breeze beyond this article as they feel that “it” can’t happen to them or that the heart isn’t an issue to have to think about if they are “healthy.”

  • Heart issues are the leading cause of death in the United States. Number one! (The New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 345:892-902, 9/20/01, Num. 12, Philip A. Ades, M.D.) Cancer seems to get the lions share of media for research and prevention in our country, but heart issues trump cancer as the current leading cause of death. Therefore, finding preventive measures and solutions for the heart are incredibly important. Contributions can be made directly to the American Heart Association here!

Exercise strengthens the heart in a few ways. Both cardio conditioning and strength training play an important role in how this ‘Universe’ rolls on through life. Exercise done post heart issue, and/or stroke, is often both pleasurable and scary. Uncertainty can severely hinder progress for a healthier heart and cause a breakdown in self-confidence and self-esteem.

Post heart issue, it is important for exercise to be monitored by an exercise professional and/or doctor. Attempting to tackle the sophisticated exercise programming on your own could be catastrophic. It’s very common for a doctor to have you do a physical stress test during annual visits or prior to you beginning an exercise program, regardless of your current condition. This test will scientifically identify safe heart rate zones to train between when doing exercise and will allow your doctor to concisely meet with your exercise professional to discuss your exercise program and contraindications (things not to do) to exercise. This test yields a lot of data of which your doctor can discuss with you after the results are reviewed. (Note: Blood pressure reduction medications, namely beta blockers,consumed will alter the outcome of this or any heart monitoring device, which will be taken into consideration by your medical or exercise professional and discussed with you.)

The long and the short of it: Exercise will help keep your heart functioning at its optimum level, regardless of the fact if you have had a heart episode or not. If you have had a cardiac event, exercise has scientifically been proven to promote faster healing of your heart muscle, in addition to making your highly valued asset, your body, a better functioning machine. It’s normal to have fear, depression, and a variety of emotional (and possibly physical) feelings after having had an event. You can feel secure in the fact that you are not alone in your quest to live life like you did before, or even better than you did before.

  • Note: There are instances where exercise will actually be counterproductive to what your health care team would recommend. It’s for this reason that your exercise program should be programmed by your doctors and exercise professionals, and not by you after a quick internet search or after a simple discussion with friends.

One of my favorite self-made affirmations is, “Be in better shape this birthday, than you ever have been in your life.” Just because you, perhaps, haven’t exercised ever before and you are over 50, doesn’t mean that it’s too late. Our bodies are remarkable. You can earn your own body enhancement and strength like never before! I’ve worked with 80+ year olds that hadn’t exercised in decades, only to watch their strength and quality of life increase over the months and the years, with regular exercise. You can too.

Go now to Part 2, Exercising AFTER a Heart Event, and follow with Part 3, Exercising with Heart Problems: A personal journey. These editions are aimed to help you feel at ease and to also give you more tools to become better educated about your heart and exercising with heart issues.

Thank you for your time, your attention, and your votes!

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