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:

Body-Fit

24 thoughts on “What is Heart Health?

  1. Alyse says:

    Great article on what is heart health! This is so important for men to be aware of! I really like the list of avoidable risks and I will share with my husband.

    And I’m going to definitely signup for the BodyFit FREE 30-Day Trial. Thank you for this valuable info.

  2. Andrew says:

    Good information. Thanks for sharing.
    It’s actually shocking to learn how many American men have cardiovascular disease. There is something seriously wrong with society when these statistics are accepted and life just goes on as if it was ‘normal.’
    There is nothing normal about being chronically sick, and the fact that these sick people cannot enjoy many of life’s simple pleasures should be enough to ‘wake them up’ and motivate them to change their lifestyles. However, sadly it’s not.
    Education is the answer, and that is why it is good to see an article like this one promoting exercise combined with healthy eating. Let’s hope many people read it, and take note of and act upon its important message, for their own sake.
    Cheers mate.

  3. Tom says:

    Hi Glenn,

    This is a really informative and insightful article, and I’m really pleased I came across it. Since lockdown, my fitness has dropped quite dramatically and I am guilty of not taking it back up when the restrictions eased. But now in the UK we are going into more strict restrictions so the time to start working out is now, and keep it up at home. I have passed this article on to my Dad and my brother too as they need to do the same as me.

    We should NOT neglect our heart health, especially during these extremely tough times.

    I will let you know how we are getting on, and if we have any questions or issues then we will get in touch, if that is OK?

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    • Glenn says:

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks so much for your kind comments. I would love to hear back from you any time. BTW there are many workout plans designed specifically for the home, so, if your health clubs close down again, you can follow one of those plans. I find it easier for me to be consistent and effective if I am following a good plan.

      All the best!
      Glenn

  4. Katrina Curry says:

    Hi Glenn,

    It is so important anymore for people to take care of their health. I’ve often been the reminder in my family and friends lives always telling them to take better care of themselves. Most get upset with me because I can be insistent on better health, but I want my family to live longer with me.

    Especially now that most people are confined to their homes, working from home, going to school from home. There is a clear and definite lack of exercise presently and it’s sad to know that many will come out of this quarantine heavier than when it started.

    I know some have started exercising more, but that’s few and far between, especially where I live in Alaska. With winter here, outdoor activity will become scarce unless you love winter sports.

    I loved this article! So true!

    Katrina

  5. Ceci says:

    Hi Glenn,
    Thanks for this detailed and informative article. I do hope many more men will get to read it. Fitness in seniors is all the more important because along with proper diet it helps not only the heart, but can play an active role in the aging process. It is the controllable risk factors that many seniors fail to pay sufficient attention to. Exercise is all about commitment and discipline

    I also loved the video as it provided good content validation.

  6. Ionut says:

    Sometimes it takes a little bit of effort to get up and at least move your a.. out of the home.

    Even though I enjoy working out 6 days out of 7, I also have moments when I feel like I wouldn’t want to go to the gym.

    But with little self-motivation, most of the time, I can pass these moments with brio.

    Also, the support of your family members helps a lot too.

  7. Christine says:

    This is a very informative article. Exercise and a healthy diet are extremely important. Although I don’t go to the gym and I do not do any exercise with weights, I am very active. I take little walks every day on my property. I am not sure yet if I can go for long walks, because I have had a knee injury for nearly a year and it seems to have finally gotten better, but I can’t do heavy stuff yet, but I walk every day, several rounds around my property (and it’s a large piece of land) . I also lift buckets when I water plants and trees that are far away and where the water hose no longer reaches. So that is exercise too, twice a day 😉
    I eat many fruits and vegetables, but sometimes I add some junk food to my diet and red wine too, but in general I think that I eat quite healthy and I am active.
    I read somewhere that heart disease is the nr. 1 killer in the US. A sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy, processed food seem to be the norm for many. I hope that more people will inform themselves about this, and start living a healthier lifestyle.

    • Glenn says:

      Thank you for your comments, Christine. I am glad to hear that you are doing so many of the right things to be fit and healthy. The walking and gardening you are doing are wonderful exercises to help maintain fitness. Keep up the good work! The length and quality of your life will be extended which will be a blessing for you AND your loved ones.

      Glenn

  8. Willow says:

    I found your website when looking for information for my husband. As he turned 61, I’m looking for ways for both of us to stay healthy.

    We both take supplements, including fish oil. I try to buy as much organic meat and produce as I can as well. Sometimes the higher price of the organic items makes me think, but I know in the long run our health is worth the cost.

    I really liked the story about Bob; that gave me motivation to keep going on days when I’m hurting. Thanks!

    • Glenn says:

      Thank you for your kind comments, Willow. I’m so glad you found my website. My purpose for creating it is to inform and inspire men like your husband to pursue health and fitness. I’ve actually had comments from women suggesting I should have named the website to include women because they find just as much value in it. It is rewarding for me to hear that.

      If you wish to see any of the other posts, just go to: http://www.fitness-for-men-over-60.com.

      Appreciatively,
      Glenn

  9. LJ kudos says:

    Hi,

    It’s good to know there’s people like you out there posting things like this. To realise awareness to improve your heart health. The thing is, people need to just change their perspective a little with their lifestyle choices to benefit here, if they did and made that change, the feeling they would get from being healthier would encourage them to maintain it. There are some very good points made here.

    Really great post and thanks!

    • Glenn says:

      Thank you for your kind comments, LJ. I agree with you completely. In fact, my purpose for creating this website is to inform and inspire aging men to pursue health and fitness. If they do, they can live longer and a higher quality of life, benefitting themselves and their loved ones.

      Appreciatively,
      Glenn

  10. David Moore says:

    Hello. Thanks for the informative post about what heart health looks like for men over 60. My dad is almost there and he has heart issues. When he was a young man, he had a fine bill of health because he was a marine. Now, he needs to take better care of his heart and he find its difficult. Thanks for your post! All the best! David.

    • Glenn says:

      Hi David – Thank you for your comments. The purpose for my website is to inform and inspire men, as they age, to pursue health and fitness. It is possible for your Dad to live longer and at a higher quality of life if he chooses. Guys like your Dad is why I have created this site. If you want to send him the url, it is: http://www.fitness-for-men-over-60.com.

      Glenn

  11. Sean Bennick says:

    Glenn,

    Great article, and one I sadly have a bit of experience around.

    I had a Heart Attack at the end of 2013 at the age of 44. When they scoped me, they found what they thought was the culprit, two blockages in minor vessels that were too small to stent. They watched me a few days then I went home on January 3rd, 2014. No stress test, and no real followup except to send me to an education and exercise class.

    I spent the next year in and out of the ER and dealing with horrible chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath and all the standard symptoms of a heart attack. This was literally every 2 weeks. I was a walking time bomb, but the cardiologist I was seeing believed he had fixed the problem and I was just seeking attention.

    The next December, just before Christmas, I was attending a Diabetes Education class when the nurse freaked out about how I looked and grabbed my Endocrinologist. I was gray, short of breath, and sweating through my shirt. Anyway, the doc called the ER and had one of her nurses run me down to the ER and stay with me. I wound up with stents in both my LAD (the one they call the Widowmaker) and Ramus, both were 90-95% blocked. I also had a new diagnosis of Small Artery Disease and Vasospasms after a few follow-ups with my new Cardiologist.

    If you have the symptoms of a Heart Attack, which are different for men and women by the way, PLEASE go to the ER immediately. If they don’t find anything, then find a cardiologist who can take a deeper look and if the pain is chronic, make them do a stress test. I’m lucky I am still here.

    Follow the diet guidelines here and get exercising so you can avoid what happened to me.

    Thanks for putting this out there,
    Sean

    • Glenn says:

      Wow, Sean! Thanks so much for sharing your story! And, your message is vital for anyone who even thinks they might be having a heart attack or stroke! There are too many sub-par doctors in practice that result in patient difficulties and even death. I am SO glad you finally got the care you needed and are here today to share your story with others!

      The purpose of my website is to inform and inspire men, as they age, to pursue health and fitness. It is possible to live longer and live a higher quality of life for most people. Not only do they benefit, but their loved ones benefit as well.

      Thanks again for sharing your story here, Sean. It is compelling.

      Sincerely,
      Glenn

  12. Habib says:

    This is highly useful article on heart health. Gosh! There is so much more we all need to be doing to keep our heart healthy including the right nutrition and exercise. I have learnt a great deal of information from your article here.

    Keep up the great work.

  13. Hannie says:

    Oh, I have been looking for that schedule of the target heart rate for ages. I knew it was something like what you siad, just wasn’t sure. Thank you so much!

    I am 67, but does that mean my targets are almost the same as yours or will they be different because I am a woman?

    I choose #1 as well. For me it was not the condition of my heart that was the wake up call, but my cholesterol levels. And I definitely feel better than 10 years ago as well, like you. 🙂

    At the moment I am not so worried about the virus, but I am worried about the fact that all normal health care came to a standstill over here in Spain. I want to have my yearly bloodtest but am not able to get it through the regular channels. So I’ll go to a private clinic later this week. I want to keep track of my numbers. 🙂

    • Glenn says:

      Thank you for your comments, Hannie. There has been research conducted that has developed different target rate calculations for women. You can find a chart here: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/834221530957284039/

      It’s a shame that you can’t get testing to help manage your health, and by doing so, avoid illness. Most people, at least here in the U.S. manage illness when it occurs. I’m like you, I would rather manage health in an effort to stay healthy and avoid illness and disease.

      Glenn

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