There is a lot of buzz about keeping your heart healthy by reducing stress, eating healthfully and staying active. The questions are: How do I do that? What does that look like? and How exactly can I prevent any major cardiovascular incident?
We all want longevity along with a great quality of life. That is possible AND we are responsible for taking action and making it happen for ourselves! We have discussed at length in many of our other blogs what it looks like to reduce stress and to truly eat healthfully. In this blog, I want to provide emphasis on what it means to prevent cardiovascular disease, experience the joy of health and how to exercise healthfully.
FIRST- MEASURE, MEASURE, MEASURE
It is important to understand the trends of your health history, to look not just at cholesterol. More importantly, make sure you measure your fasting triglycerides and fasting blood sugar. These factors show up long before any cardiovascular symptoms shows up like a heart attack. High levels of triglycerides and insulin resistance are huge precursors to a cardiac incident. Additionally, measure your waist circumference. If it is half your height or more, it adds to your risk of cardiovascular disease.
It is important to understand that a heart attack or cardiovascular disease doesn’t just happen…it is from long term chronic plaque build-up, carrying around too much excess of weight, a lack of healthy exercise and actually can be caused by chronically exercising incorrectly putting burden on your body and most importantly your heart month after month/year after year. it is not just genetic - even if there were a genetic pre-disposition - it is preventable by educating yourself and making changes that can better your health not just for the moment but for long term.
SECOND - BEING PHYSICALLY FIT DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE HEALTHY
A lot of athletes can get away with eating tons of carbs + junk food, still look great and they perform really well. The first question is how much better could they actually be performing if they did take impeccable care of their body? The second question is how long can that happen before they crash, find out they have a serious condition or even worse - die. How many times have we heard about Marathoners or Olympians dropping dead of a heart attack? It isn’t the running that did it but the chronicity of their lack of health on multiple levels. Ultimately, they are never able to reach their potential.
If the body is being pushed, initially (and often for years) it will go into a sympathetic response (flight or fight) and will fire harder so they think they are fine and performing well. When people “feel fine” and do not do anything to prevent injury or ill health - it eventually catches up. The long term effects of pushing your body passed its limits (on all levels) shows up later as cognitive difficulty, when you start to “feel old,” as a serious condition and/or even death -all of which were absolutely preventable.
THIRD - WHAT IS HEALTHY EXERCISE?
How do we integrate exercise and a more active lifestyle healthfully and prevent illness, chronic pain and cardiovascular disease? Remember, your heart is a muscle. Just like any other muscle, if you overwork it, it can get injured, have scar tissue, etc. It is important to work your heart muscle up like any other muscle. Using a heart rate monitor is of the utmost importance for this. Based on the incredible research of Dr. Phil Maffetone, your heart rate should be 180 minus your age with an additional minus 5 for a healthy non-elite athlete and an additional minus 10 if you have been injured or ill in the last year.
A healthy 30 yr old would have a target heart rate of 145 and for a healthy workout would want to stay in the range of 140-145 never to exceed 150.
A 30 year old that was injured/sick within the last 12 months ago would have a target heart rate of 140 and for a healthy workout would want to stay in the range of 135-140 never to exceed 145.
Begin with a warm-up for 5-10 minutes to get yourself up to that range, stay in your range for 15-20 minutes or longer, and then cool down for 5-10 minutes. Often people that LOVE to exercise think this heart rate range is CRAZY and they don’t feel they sweat enough or get a good enough workout but I PROMISE, it is well worth your patience for the first 3-6 weeks. Your level of performance will improve while still able to hold a full conversation. It’s awesome!
BENEFITS OF EXERCISING WITH A HEART RATE MONITOR AT YOUR TARGET RATE:
Burns fat not sugar
Builds your heart muscle healthfully
Prevents injury and chronic conditions later on - you don’t have to wait for your body to ache to make you slow down. You can prevent the ache and pain all together
Prevents adrenal stress
Allows you to outperform most others in your age range
Keeps you balanced, healthy AND physically fit
A bottle of calcium or an Rx isn’t the answer to the big picture of your health. It is the whole package that allows you to thrive! Create a habit of eating whole foods, exercising correctly + be an advocate for your health by asking questions, getting data, + continuing to make smart choices for yourself…it will pay off!
START NOW! Join us, February 12th at our Dinner with the Doctors discussion on movement for heart health with special guest Erica Horenthal - Dance Movement Therapist - Helping To Make Movement In Your Life EASY! Register Here