What is Heart Health?

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

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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:

  1. Have a plan.
    1. It can be as simple as, “Go for a walk each day, 6 days a week.”
    2. Or, it can be a more challenging plan. There are many great plans to choose from on BODYBUILDING.COM.
    3. 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:

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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)old-guy-cartoon-with-dumbbells

– 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:

  1. 60 – 65% of max = Long and slow pace
  2. 70 – 85% of max = High endurance pace
  3. 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:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Bicycling
  • Rowing (either in a boat or an exercise machine)
  • Treadmill
  • Eliptical machine
  • Jump rope
  • Kyaking

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.Question=Marks

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 activityExercising-Heart
  • Lack of sleep (The National Sleep Foundation Recommends older adults get at least 7-8 hours of sleep nightly)
  • Smoking
  • 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

Conclusion

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:

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Building Muscle After 60

Your immediate reaction to the idea of building muscle after 60 may be to totally reject the idea. You might think you can’t build muscle this late in the game. (Wrong!). You might hate the idea of doing any form of resistance training required. Perhaps you loath the idea of resistance training of any kind. Maybe you are so repulsed by the idea you feel like it would suck your will to live! Even if all that is true, you’ve read this far and I hope you will continue to read about some powerful reasons for WHY old dudes like us should endeavor to build some muscle.

Why Build Muscle After 60?

To start with, LIVE LONGER AND BETTER. Various research studies have shown that strength training helps older people live longer and with a better quality of life. For example, a study published in “Preventative Medicine” researched people, over a 15-year period, who died after age 65. They used data collected by The National Health Interview Survey then used the death certificate data. Only 9% of the people reported they did some type of strength training regularly, at least two times per week. Those people had a 46 percent less risk of early death than those who didn’t do strength training. They were also 41 percent less likely to have a cardiac-related death and 19 percent less likely to die from cancer. The results held true even if those who did strength training engaged in smoking or alcohol use. Research has also shown that lifting heavy weights over time not only helps maintain bone density but causes new bone growth. And it helps strengthen the integrity of joints and helps maintain and improve overall balance which tends to deteriorate as we age due to lack of activity.old-man-weighted-lunges

The average 30-year-old will lose about a quarter of his muscle strength by age 70 and half of it by age 90. Dr. Robert Shreiber, an instructor at Harvard Medical School says, “Unless you are doing strength training, you will become weaker and less functional.”

So, if living a longer life with a significantly improved, overall quality of life sounds good, read on. There is more!

More Benefits to Building Muscle

When you build muscle you use more calories and burn more fat. You see, muscles burn energy. Fat stores energy. As your muscles grow your metabolic rate increases. So, even when you’re sitting on the couch binging your latest Netflix series, if you’ve built muscle, you are burning more calories. Nice, huh?

Your balance will improve, big time! If you’re past 60 and have not been strength training or balance training, you are probably experienced a loss of the ability to balance that you never even had to think about in your younger years. Maybe you’ve even fallen because you lost your balance. My mother-in-law who is in her late ’80’s has fallen many times. I’ve had to pick her up a bunch of times. She’s even fallen, literally, flat on her face. Each time that’s happened she winds up with 2 black eyes and, a totally bruised face. She’s never done any kind of exercise for balance or anything else. My 94 year old dad walks with a walker, but he’s become all hunched over because of it. Balance, like so many other things as we age, is a “use it or lose it” deal. I can only imagine how humiliating it would be to fall and break something while heading to the bathroom in the middle of the night. “How did you break your hip?” Would you rather reply, “Awe I broke it playing ultimate Frisbee with my grand kids.”; or, “I fell down going potty in the middle of the night.”

Strength training can help avoid injuries. As your core and your legs strengthen your bones ligaments and tendons strengthen and come back to life.older-man-doing-hammer-curls

Building muscle for men over 60 helps even normal, day-to-day activities get easier. Have you had trouble opening your bottle of martini olives? Or, maybe you have one of those contraptions that opens jars for ladies or for guys who aren’t strong enough anymore. Wouldn’t you like to carry 2 bags of groceries up the stairs without huffin’ and puffin’ or losing your balance?

Research has shown that weight training can reduce your risk of heart disease, by improving cardiovascular function and improving blood chemistry.

Building muscle helps improve coordination. When muscles contract, they stimulate the nervous system, which enables the muscles to fire. Resistance training increases these nerves’ firing rate, which allows you to better coordinate movements. Would you like to be able to shoot some hoops with your grandson and not miss the hoop and the backboard? How about kick the soccer ball around with your grand kids? That’s when your grand kids can’t wait for you to come visit so they can play with you! Guys, that reason alone is a motivator for me.

 

“I don’t want to get all bulked up.”

Oh my gosh! I have actually heard guys say that. I hope YOU haven’t said that. If you did I’m about to offend you. That is SO lame! That’s an excuse, not a reason. You would have to be incredibly dedicated and intentional, consistently over time to develop anything that could be considered bulk.older-man-doing-pushups

More likely, you think, if you’ve never done much strength training in the past, at this stage of life, it’s too late to build muscle and acquire strength. That, I’m happy to say is NOT the case. If you’re in your sixties or beyond, you can build muscle. Anyone who tells you it’s not possible is proven wrong by many scientific studies. Zig Ziglar would have said to that person, (in his thick Southern drawl), “That’s stinkin’ thinkin’ and you need a check-up from the neck-up!”

 

“What kinds of resistance training are there?”

  • Free weights – These are barbells and dumbbells.
    • A barbell is usually between 5 and 6 feet long and weighs 45 pounds before putting any other weighs on it.
    • A dumbbell is like a short barbell. They are usually 4 to 5 inches long and most commonly held by one hand for various exercises.
  • Machines – There are countless types and styles of weighted machines for a multitude of various exercises. In many cases machines can facilitate safer weight training because of the assistance they provide. Often times older men prefer machines to free weights. I recently watched a documentary with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now in his 70s prefers machines to free weights for many exercises.
  • Resistance Bands – These are kind of like huge rubber bands. A little different from free weights, bands maintain resistance for the entire movement of each exercise. There are some advantages to this in both efficacy and safety. I just ordered a set of bands and am going to go through a 6-week routine with them.
  • Your own body weight – Common exercises are push-ups, pull-ups and lunges
  • Medicine Balls – There are various kinds of exercises with medicine balls that are effective in developing power. Power is the combination of strength and speed.

Final Thoughts

If I have been successful in persuading any of my readers that building muscle for men over 60, or for any other age, has huge payoffs for a longer life with a higher quality of life, the next step will be either:

  • How to get started, or
  • How to begin to move to the next level.

I’ll address those two topics in my next post. Thanks so much for reading! – Glenn