Heart disease is the number one cause of death in men in the U.S. It has been every year since 1918.
A vital part of pursuing fitness, is developing a healthy heart. (If you do, you will feel better, look better and probably live longer.) So, What is Heart Health?
A healthy heart rate wil range between 60 to 100 beats per minute. Many doctors prefer their patients to be in the 50 to 70-beat range. If you are living a lifestyle for fitness and you exercise regularly, your heart rate may be as low as 40 beats per minute. That usually indicates excellent physical condition supported by a healthy heart.
According to the American Heart Association:
- An estimated 85.6 million American adults (>1 in 3) have cardiovascular disease (CVD)
- Of these, 43.7 million are estimated to be ≥60 years of age.
Diet for Heart Health
If you are committed to maintain a diet that supports a healthy heart, it needs to be a consistent pattern, or, a “lifestyle”
“Healthy eating” will require that your diet is low in saturated and trans fats, salt and sugar.
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits helps to support a healthy heart and lower the risk of heart disease.
You’ll want to give up processed, white breads, cereals and pasta. Instead, choose whole grain foods that have been minimally processed.
Whole grain foods have more healthy nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber and healthy fats.
Contrary to commonly held misconceptions, dietary fats are good for you and necessary for a healthy heart. Healthy fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are where we get Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, necessary for health and fitness.
Some fish oils are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. The three most important Omega 3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA and ALA. And, it’s important to get them in the right dosages for you to get the great benefits Omega 3’s can deliver.
Omega JYM fish oil capsules delivers both EPA and DHA fatty acids in 1500 mg, just the right dosages as research has shown. Click on the image below to purchase Omega JYM at the lowest price. For more information on choosing the right quality of omega supplements see my article by clicking on: Quick Fat Loss
Salt can contribute to high blood pressure which is a cause of heart disease. It’s healthier to substitute herbs and spices for salt.
[Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase anything through one of the links. However, this will not affect what you pay!]
Exercise for Heart Health
DON’T SKIP THIS PART!
Even if you hate the idea of exercising, have never wanted to exercise and still don’t want to exercise, please read this section.
According to a study published in the U.S. National Public Library of Medicine, “In men, riding in a car and combined time spent in these two sedentary behaviors were significant CVD mortality predictors.
Additionally, high levels of physical activity were related to notably lower rates of CVD death even in the presence of high levels of sedentary behavior. Health promotion efforts targeting physically inactive men should emphasize both reducing sedentary activity and increasing regular physical activity for optimal cardiovascular health.” To learn more click on the following link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2857522/
You can put reduce most of the normal problems of aging, including weakness, sore joints, bad balance, and eliminate at least half of serious illness and injury through regular, vigorous exercise.
Thanks to today’s knowledge of the science of aging, you can functionally become younger, over time, through healthy diet and regular vigorous exercise. Yes! Functionally younger!
I read about a man who was close to retiring at age 65. I’ll call him Bob. He saw his doctor for a physical. He was a hundred pounds overweight. He had high cholesterol, blood pressure and low energy. He battled anxiety and was depressed.
Bob’s doctor talked to him about exercise but he just blew it off. His doctor told him if he didn’t do something that chances were good he would die soon. That was a wake-up call for him.
He decided that he would go for a walk every day, 6 days a week. The first day he went a few blocks and he felt pretty good. But the next morning when he woke up he felt horrible… aches and pains everywhere.
To his credit, (and ultimate benefit), he got out of bed, took some ibuprofen and went out to do his walk. He barely went a block this time. The next day he did the same thing, and the next day and several more days after that.
After a few months, he was walking a mile or more and feeling a lot better. He had more energy, better mood and even became motivated to improve his diet.
He started to experience the amazing benefits that everyone who starts a dedicated exercise program does!
A year later Bob was walking at least 5 miles a day, 6 days a week. He lost 60 pounds. He looked much younger and he felt great.
3 Important points to help you start and continue an exercise plan that will improve your heart health and your life:
- Have a plan.
- It can be as simple as, “Go for a walk each day, 6 days a week.”
- Or, it can be a more challenging plan. There are many great plans to choose from on BODYBUILDING.COM.
- RECOMMENDED: 30-Day FREE Trial for BodyFit. There are many workout plans for ALL levels of fitness. There are 32 different plans just for beginners! You can download them onto your phone and easily track your progress. I use it every day and I love it. After the 30-Day FREE Trial, if you want to continue, it is only $12.99 per month. Just click on the picture here:
2. “Show up” every day. Regardless of how you feel, show up and do the best you can.
3. Moderation – Start and progress with moderation. Don’t go out and try to run 5 miles or bench press what you did in college.
I recommend having a 6-day exercise plan that includes cardio exercise and resistance training (such as weights or machine weights). See my articles…
Whether doing vigorous cardio training or resistance training, you actually damage your cells. This is good, healthy damage though. Exercise and recovery is a “break-down-build-up” process. It results in greater health and strength. It gradually enables you to do more.
Exercise is a catalyst that kicks off chemical processes which produce repair, renewal and growth. The chemicals that are released affect you in positive ways emotionally and physically. If you are 50 or older, functionally, you become younger.
If you are new to exercise or haven’t exercised for years, I recommend that you do 4 days per week of cardio exercise and 2 days a week of resistance training. With your cardio exercises you should get to the point where you can do so vigorously for 45 – 60 minutes daily.
You should get a heart monitor. You only need an inexpensive one that simply measures your heart beats per minute.
Calculating Your Target Heart Rate
– Subtract your age from 220. (I’m 68, so for me, 220 – 68 = 152)
– Multiply by 60%. (For me, 152 X 60% = 91)
– Multiply by 70%. (For me, 152 X 70% = 106)
– Multiply by 80%. (For me, 152 X 80% = 122)
– Multiply by 90%. (For me, 152 X 90% = 137)
There are 3 paces you can use to monitor your cardio exercise and progress:
- 60 – 65% of max = Long and slow pace
- 70 – 85% of max = High endurance pace
- 85% – 100% = Anaerobic pace
Memorize the numbers for those 3 paces.
As you get in better shape, your actual target heart rate will improve.
There are many kinds of cardio exercise. If you can pick one that you enjoy, you will likely more successful. Following are just some to pick from:
- Rowing (either in a boat or an exercise machine)
- Eliptical machine
- Jump rope
How Important is Heart Health to You?
We have choices in life.
1. We can choose to include regular, vigorous exercise AND healthy diet. If we do, we look great, feel great and likely live longer, able to rough house with our grand kids for many years.
2. Another choice is to be a couch potato, eating all the junk that tastes so good but is so bad for you, AND binge on sports and Netflix. Over time, I look older and sickly. The onset of inflammation, arthritis and disease reduce the quality of life. Depression AND aches and pains just become part of life.
3. A third choice is something that is a hybrid of #1 and #2. My observations are that the overall quality of life is more like choice #3, but not totally as bad.
I’m the kind of person who prefers choice #1. Once you get accustomed to a lifestyle of healthy diet and daily, vigorous exercise, you feel so good you want to continue. Once the lifestyle choices become habit, they become so much easier to maintain. You find strategies to get your daily exercise rather than excuses why you can’t.
I’ve found that, in life, most of the best things we want require consistent choices to do the harder thing on a steady basis. The hardest part is starting new habits that, done consistently, will lead to the best outcomes over time.
YOU CAN DO THIS!
Controllable Risk Factors That Lead to Heart Disease
If we want to maximize our heart health, we need to know what leads to heart disease so we can avoid those. Following is a list of some more common avoidable risks. The list is not in any particular order:
- Lack of physical activity
- Lack of sleep (The National Sleep Foundation Recommends older adults get at least 7-8 hours of sleep nightly)
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- A diet high in saturated fats, sugar, salt, foods made with white flour
- Not knowing your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels (following is what is recommended. Deviation from these numbers should be cause to consult your doctor):
- Blood pressure of 120/80 mm Hg or lower
- Fasting blood glucose (blood sugar) of 100 mg/dL or lower
- Total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL or lower
- LDL (bad) cholesterol of 100 mg/dL or lower
- HDL (good) cholesterol of 40 mg/dL or higher for men
- Triglycerides of 150 mg/dL or lower
For more information on heart disease click on: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_disease
My aim in this article was to help you to understand the answer to the question, What is heart health? With that understanding and with the knowledge that heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the U.S., that you will be motivated to improve your own heart health.
Then, if you are motivated, I have given you information regarding diet, exercise and risk factors to help you effectively improve the health of your heart.
Once again, I recommend you give the BodyFit FREE 30-Day Trial a go. You will be able to find a fitness plan to fit your individual needs: