Get Your Heart Pumping and Defy Aging
One of the most important ways to defy aging is to focus on your heart health. Heart disease will kill one out of every three Americans. According to the American Heart Association, over 60 million Americans currently suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Continuing research is finding that heart disease can be prevented and even reversed with a healthy diet and some exercise. This age defying tip will focus on the exercise aspect of preventing heart disease.
Burn Those Calories
For optimum health and to reduce the incidence of heart disease you’ll need enough physical activity to burn between 3,500 and 6,500 calories a week (or about 500 – 950 a day). Most of that calorie burning will be used for normal daily activities, but scientific data shows that in addition to those calories burned for general physical activities you also need about 60 minutes a week of stamina training, or cardiovascular activity that elevates your heart rate to about 80% or more of your age-adjusted maximum (220 minus your age) for an extended period of time. More will be needed to get into excellent shape, but for obtaining optimum health, three 20 minute workouts per week at this heart rate should be sufficient to reduce the arterial aging usually associated with heart disease.
Several experts have concluded that while three 20 minute workouts might not be the best regimen for someone who needs lose 90 pounds or who wants to run the Boston Marathon, that is about the amount of exercise needed to increase your longevity. Exercise is known to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which are the most important factors in arterial aging and heart disease. Even walking just a few minutes a day will lower your LDL cholesterol (lousy cholesterol) and will raise your HDL (healthy) cholesterol and decrease arterial inflammation among other benefits. Exercise also assists in preventing heart disease by strengthening blood vessels, forcing them to dilate and perhaps making them more elastic. It is highly recommended that you start out walking if you have not exercised in a while. Later, optimum activities would include some weight lifting and anaerobic activity such as cycling, swimming, or using an elliptical trainer to elevate your heart rate.
Don’t Turn into a Blimp
Also, perhaps one of the most important reasons for exercise is so you do not turn into a Goodyear blimp. You increase risk of heart disease in various ways if you’re seriously overweight. In addition to heart disease you may develop other risky conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, lipid disorders like high LDL levels, sleep apnea, and arthritis, which may inhibit your desire and ability to exercise. If your weight is carried around your waist, you are at even higher risk because the fat cells and abdominal fat secrete a hormone that directly increases inflammation in your blood vessels. A weight loss of even 5% of body weight will significantly improve your overall cardiovascular health and reduce the probability of heart disease. Finally, exercise is also known to reduce stress which is one of the greatest factors in aging your body in addition to its impact upon heart disease.
Some information adapted from You The Owner’s Manual: An Insider’s Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger by Michael F. Roizen M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz M.D.
Additional information and webpage by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)