Wellness Wednesday – Healthy Heart Exercises with Nurse Lauren
Hi there, Nurse Lauren here with your Wellness Wednesday tip! It’s February and this month we are going to talk all about your heart! It’s true that this month makes you think of candy hearts and heart shaped balloons, but having a healthy heart is serious. If you want to actually grow old and be healthy with the one for whom you are buying Valentines, then keep reading! Here are a few exercises to make you heart pump. There is a suggestion for where ever you are on your fitness journey. Also check out 3 Kinds of Exercise That Boost Heart Health from Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Aerobic exercise and resistance training are the most important for heart health,” says Johns Hopkins exercise physiologist Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D.
- WALKING is a great way to strengthen your heart. The faster you chose to walk the faster your heart rate will be, but you don’t need to run to exercise. Walking is such a flexible exercise that it is great for people who exercise very little or not at all. You can literally walk anywhere, just make sure you are wearing shoes that support your feet. Ask an accountability friend to join you or put some headphones on and get that heart rate going!
- SWIMMING is a great cardiovascular activity that helps make your heart stronger. Studies show that swimming improves blood pressure and circulation. Swimming is a full body workout and great for people who exercise moderately.
- INTERVAL TRAINING is when you combined timed shorter intense training with longer recovery activities such as weights. This type of exercises makes your heart alternate between the two types of workouts, thus strengthening your heart muscle. Interval trainings are for people who exercise regularly.
Why is it important to take care of my heart? In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women and for people of most ethnicities including Caucasians, African Americans, and Hispanics. One in every four deaths is attributed to heart disease. 735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year.
What are the major factors that increase your risk for heart disease? Behaviors like unhealthy diets, an inactive lifestyle, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption lead to conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. These conditions are high risk factors. Other factors to consider are family history, age, and ethnicity.
The most common type of heart disease in the U.S. is coronary artery disease or CAD. For many, the first sign of CAD is a heart attack. Your arteries are responsible for supplying blood to your heart and the rest of your body. Arteries narrow as deposits of cholesterol, fat, and other substances buildup. This buildup is called plaque. At first, plaque can partially block the flow of blood. This buildup causes coronary artery disease. Eventually if the plaque continues to build in the arteries, narrowing the passage, blood flow will be completely blocked. Chest pains, or angina, are a result of your heart muscle not getting enough blood. The most common symptom of CAD is angina. It is important that overtime you develop good habits to avoid the conditions that put you at risk for heart disease.
This is Nurse Lauren, contributor of NursesNOW, signing off with your Wellness Wednesday tip!