The Easiest Way to Avoid Heart Attacks
Physical activity and daily exercise are extremely important for a healthy cardiovascular system. Unfortunately, consistent exercise is likely impacted by your daily schedule, particularly during those years when you are busy in shaping your career, raising your children or taking care of your family. People generally realize the importance of cardiovascular health when the sedentary lifestyle starts affecting their daily routine and they feel breathless after climbing a small flight of stairs or doing just a little physical work.
I remember during cardiology fellowship joining a volleyball league. I felt incredibly sore the next day, and realized how important it is to stay active.
Inactivity leads to high blood pressure, an unhealthy lipid profile, elevated blood sugar and chronic inflammation. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and other cardiovascular complications are often soon to follow.
The good news is regular aerobic exercise can prevent CAD complications and allow you to maintain a healthy heart. The better news is, you can start a cardiovascular health program any time at any age.
Cardiovascular Health Tips For Heart Patients
If you are suffering from any cardiovascular problem, it’s always advisable to exercise even if you can only walk for a few minutes.
Newtons first law: “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.” However, you should consult your healthcare professional before starting an exercise program, especially after a diagnosis or cardiac event. My first rule is to start slow and gradually increase the speed and duration of activity.
"The typical person who gets into trouble is the 50 year old male who played high school football, hasn’t exercised since, and is going to hike up a mountain. These guys fall victim to a heart attack all the time.”
A cardiologist will consider your history, exam, electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), and other factors to advise the best level of activity to support your cardiovascular health. In some cases, a stress treadmill is recommended (nuclear injection not needed). Your body will adapt over time and you’ll find it easy increase to brisk walking or even jogging. As you build a stronger cardiovascular system with consistency, you’ll experience enhanced benefits including weight loss and a decreased risk of heart attack and stroke. Even if you’ve had a cardiac event, it should be a primary goal to regain and increase your overall fitness level. Your heart will thank you for your efforts.
Cardiovascular Health Tips For Non-Patients
If you are not suffering from any serious cardiovascular issues, but still feeling breathless after a little activity, it means your heart capacity may be in poor condition. Any kind of aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, hiking, cycling, swimming, rowing, skating, jumping and dancing will improve your heart capacity. Choose an activity you enjoy, avoid the ones you don’t. Many people fail at their exercise routine simply by trying to do something they don’t like doing.
If you’re in shape and looking for a fun way to change things up, try high intensity interval training (HIIT) rather than exercising for 30 or 45 minutes at the same pace.Incorporating HIIT is simple if you’re doing it right. Pick your favorite cardiovascular exercise like running on a treadmill, stairclimber, elliptical trainer or stationary bike. After a good 3-5 minutes warm up, this type of exercise calls for short 30 second bursts of all-out effort followed by 90 seconds of moving rest.
When I say all-out effort, I mean go for broke, gasping for air intensity…only for 30 seconds. Trust me, 30 seconds is a log time when you’re going full speed. Work your way up to 8 repetitions of this for a game changing workout. Make sure to cool down for a few minutes after a HIIT session, no matter how many reps you’re able to complete. Do this workout 2 times per week and you’ll see a huge benefit in your cardiovascular health and overall fitness.
Know Your Heart Rate For Cardiovascular Health
It’s a good idea to invest in a heart rate monitoring system. In comparison to interval training, heart rate training approach allow a more efficient, focused and structured guidance to train your cardiovascular system. You can actually monitor your improvements and stay motivated to achieve your cardiovascular fitness. Irrespective of your expertise, you know exactly when it’s time to move to next set of exercises, rest or increase your output. Having a heart rate monitor allows you safely push your limits and still remain in a safe heart rate zone. A quality monitor will have clear instructions on how to determine your target heart rate for your individual goals.
As always, we recommend that you consult your healthcare professional before beginning or modifying your exercise routine.
If you can exercise first thing in the morning, it can be a great metabolism booster and lead to an increase in your sustained daily energy. If you can’t workout in the morning, a good guideline is to exercise about one hour after eating a meal as to not interfere with digestion. It is advisable to avoid working out at night.
Remember, our paleo ancestors awoke and retired with the sun and you should do the same...
It’s very important to start slow and gradually build your cardiovascular stamina and endurance. Persistence in your aerobic training regime is the key to your healthy heart. You cannot improve or sustain your cardiovascular health by exercising for a few days or for an event like a vacation or class reunion. Aerobic exercise and physical activity should be part of your daily routine. If you’re just starting out, 10 minutes per day is 10x your current exercise amount.
In almost all cases small but consistent changes make for huge benefits lasting results.
Dr. Jack Wolfson
Senior Editor, Clear Health Now
Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC is a board-certified cardiologist who believes bad nutrition and toxins create heart health problems. He prevents and treats cardiovascular disease with good nutrition, not medicines and treats the whole person, not just the symptoms.
He is the author of The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health. You can find out more about Dr. Wolfson at The DRs Wolfson.