Erica Hein, a screening coordinator and cardiac rehab phase three at Community Hospital Fitness Pointe, said it’s important to do cardiovascular exercise that you enjoy.
“The best exercise for your heart is what you like to do the most, whether it be walking, bicycling, ballroom dancing, swimming, water aerobics or jumping rope,” she said. “I like to say, a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing. Consistency is the key.”
Dr. Tamlyn says exercise trains the heart muscle, which helps the muscle become stronger and more efficient. It also helps release endothelin, which improves vascular health. There are a variety of other health benefits, as well. He said exercise is recommended for 150 minutes per week, in as many sessions as it takes to achieve the minute goal.
Hein said it doesn’t matter how many sessions that takes, as long as you achieve the 150 minute goal.
“Multiple shorter sessions of at least 10 minutes is acceptable,” she said. “This is great if you have a busy schedule and cannot commit to 30 minutes at a time. The important issue is how much exercise or physical activity one can accumulate in a day or over the course of a week.”
Dr. Tamlyn says moderate exercise should be done at between 60 percent and 80 percent of a person’s maximum predicted heart rate.
“Rule of thumb is that if you’re under the 80 percent level, you should be able to converse during exercise,” he said.
But Dr. Tamalyn cautions that if you have health problems, people should only exercise under the supervision of their physician.
“Patients with previous heart disease, especially if it is a recent episode, are often prescribed exercise under supervision and with EKG monitors attached,” he said. “This enables the patient to not only improve exercise stamina but to improve their self-confidence and their confidence in their heart.”
He said people should be aware that central chest tightness, pressure or heaviness induced by physical activity should be investigated by a physician. Chest tightness or chest discomfort at rest associated with nausea, sweating, vomiting or shortness of breath requires emergency attention.
Bogordos said that Franciscan Omni Health & Fitness started a wellness series called “Tuesday Tips” that is available to the public. On the first Tuesday of the month, Working Well will do blood draws that do a lipid panel and glucose testing from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. At 9 a.m., there is a wellness presentation. The cost is $10 for Omni members and $15 for the general public.
Hein emphasized that if you have had a heart attack or other heart problems, it is important to do the follow-up rehabilitation programs.
“Only about 20 percent of patients who qualify for a cardiac rehabilitation program participate,” she said. “Cardiac rehab programs have nurses, exercise physiologists and dieticians that specialize in helping heart patients recover and pursue healthy lifestyles. Community Healthcare System as well as other hospitals provide cardiac rehab services. Research shows cardiac rehab saves lives.”