Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Matters of the Heart

This month, those of us who live in the U.S. are especially focused on matters of the heart.  In addition to celebrating Valentine’s Day, we also are hearing lots about how to have a healthier cardiovascular system.

When you think of keeping your heart healthy, what comes to mind?  For many of us, the first things we think about are aerobic exercise (like walking, cycling and swimming) and avoiding unhealthy foods.  Did you know that strength training (or resistance training) is also good for your heart? 

Aerobic exercise (exercise that helps you maintain a target heart rate of 60-85% of your predicted maximum heart rate) has well-known benefits of lowering blood pressure and making your heart pump more efficiently.  The current recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services are that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity (i.e. aerobic) exercise spread throughout each week.  Those recommendations also call for muscle-strengthening exercises (using all of the major muscle groups) at least two days a week.  In addition to causing your heart to beat more quickly, strength training also causes your heart to generate more force.  Both factors make your heart a stronger muscle.  In addition, strength training also improves glucose metabolism and cholesterol levels – additional factors that impact heart health.

For those of you that don't have time to go to the gym (or don't like it), strength training isn’t just about lifting weights.  You can design a strength exercise program at home using resistance bands or body-weight exercises.

Next week, I’m offering a great opportunity for folks to get their questions answered about resistance training. I hope that you’ll join me for this new complimentary program that I’m calling “The Nudge”. Our lunchtime call on February 21 will feature strength-training expert (and my good friend) Dr. Travis Triplett.  You can register for the call here or click here to learn more about Dr. Triplett.  If you have questions, feel free to email me!

May this month bring you new opportunities to take care of your heart – and your heart’s desires!

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