Tag Archives: Heart Disease

Strengthening the most important muscle in your body

Like all muscles, your heart has to be trained in order to maintain its strength and conditioning. Whether it’s a quick run in the morning, half an hour on the stationary bike, or a leisurely walk around the neighborhood with the family dog, a few minutes of cardio each day can be a huge help to your hearts overall health.

Having a strong heart boosts your cardiovascular system, helps your body utilize oxygen more efficiently, lowers the risk for heart disease, and even allows the heart to better repair itself when damaged. There are four basic components to fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility. Cardiovascular endurance is vital because it directly coincides with how effectively you can increase the other fitness elements.

Follow these tips to effectively train your heart to become stronger:

Engage Your Muscles

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate/vigorous aerobic exercise on 4-5 days per week. To get the most out of aerobics, focus on engaging the largest muscle groups (chest, legs, back, and abs) in a continuous, rhythmic manner. By doing this, your heart has to work harder to deliver oxygen-rich blood to muscle tissue, which results in a mini workout that supports and promotes your heart’s cardiovascular strength.

Cardio Intervals

If you’re looking to increase your heart health quickly, interval training is the way to go. Intervals work by incorporating high-intensity cardio with periods of lower, relaxed cardio. This results in an extremely effective and efficient workout. Studies have shown that doing 15 minutes of interval training has been linked to preventing heart disease as well as improving your overall fitness.

Bonus: Interval training burns more calories per minute than simply jogging on a treadmill.

Weight Training

Similar to interval training, weight training is an effective way to strengthen all the muscles in your body, especially your heart. The key to having a productive weight training session is limiting the rest period between sets. Most gym goers will rest for approximately 30-90 seconds between sets. However, if your goal is greater endurance (and a stronger heart) you’ll have to surrender some break time. But trust us, your heart will thank you.

Know When to Slow Down

Just as important as an performing an intense cardio session, is knowing when to slow down. Too much adrenaline in the system can be harmful to your heart’s health. If your heart rate is jumping up too high or you feel pain, lower the intensity of your workout to let your heart slow down, then once your heart has relaxed, up the intensity to a moderate pace, but don’t overexert yourself. Be sure to drink water during “cool down” periods since the heart tends to beat faster when the cells in your body are dehydrated.

Get Enough Sleep

According to studies, young and middle-aged adults who sleep for approximately 7 hours per night have less calcium build-up in their arteries than those who sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours. Similarly, those who sleep more soundly during the night tend to have healthier arteries than those who don’t. Remember that the quality of your sleep is directly reflected in the quality of your training and ultimately influences how strong your heart is, or how strong it can become.

Women With Diabetes Face Greater Risk of Heart Disease

Margaret ChanType 2 diabetes substantially increases the risk for heart disease, but a large review of studies has found that women with diabetes are at much higher risk than men.

The meta-analysis, published in Diabetologia, included 64 studies with 858,507 subjects and 28,203 heart attacks and other coronary events.

The studies adjusted for various other cardiovascular risk factors, including age, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and body mass index. But when considering diabetes as an independent risk, they found that compared with diabetic men, diabetic women were at a 44 percent higher risk for both fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events.

The reasons remain unclear, but the study’s lead author, Sanne A. E. Peters, an epidemiologist at University Medical Center Utrecht, suggested that the finding was not because of differences in treatment or physiological differences between the sexes in the effects of diabetes. Rather, it may be a result of the more severe deterioration of women before the onset of diabetes.

via Women With Diabetes Face Greater Heart Risks Than Men – NYTimes.com.