Heart Smart

Written by: Alexander Halsey, EP-C, Health Fitness Specialist

With the end of the holiday season and 2019 in full swing, it is time to check up on your heart IQ! It is important to know if you are receiving the worth of your fitness commitment. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your heart health. During a workout, you stimulate your heart, oxygen and nutrient delivery system. The cardiovascular system is stimulated during aerobics the same way you stimulate your muscles through resistance training. Have you been adding in cardio to your workouts?

According to a study in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Journal, prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke have been decreasing for the last 40 years, however CVD and stroke remain the first and fifth leading causes of death in the US.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has a goal of reducing cardiovascular disease by 20% no later than 2020 to help fight this issue. In efforts of achieving their goal, the AHA has given seven metrics of heart health for consideration to attenuate CVD prevalence and risk factors: tobacco use, BMI, blood glucose levels, nutrition, physical activity, and blood pressure. Well-rounded nutrition paired with exercise helps to keep these metrics in check. Exercise which includes bouts of aerobics (or cardio) place the focus on improving or maintaining heart health.

Some of the little things that I like to implement to give my heart the attention it deserves are run or walk on days between resistance training, walk during long weekend phone conversations, walking while window shopping at the mall, and finally I eat plenty of nuts and seeds. Getting adequate consumption of these foods is optimal for HDL amounts within your body. Please refer to your physician or the “My Plate” diagram for recommended daily allowances. I encourage you to experiment with different ways of implementing strategies to find something that works for you.

It is never too late to start being heart smart! This month our content writers will be focusing on different topics that are all connected to heart health. This includes topics such as managing diabetes and cholesterol to lower the risk of heart disease.

References:

Patterson, F., Zhang, G., Davey Tan, Y., & Ma, G. (2016). American Heart Association’s Ideal Cardiovascular Health Metrics in Under Represented Asian Americans. Journal of Community Health, 41(6), 1282-1289. https://doi-proxy-tu.researchport.umd.edu/10.1007/s10900-016-0217-3

Wall, H K., Ritchey, M. D., Gillespie, C., Omura, J. D., Jamal, A., & George, M. G. (2018). Vital Signs: Prevalence of Key Cardiovascular Risk Factors for Million Hearts 2022 – United States, 2011-2016. MMWR: Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 67(35), 983—991. https://doi-org.proxy-tu.researchport.umd.edu/10.15585/mmwr.mm6735a4

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