Science Sunday 5th Ed.

“Exercise is medicine…” – Barry A Franklin, Ph.D.

Today’s Science Sunday is about “Slow, steady increase in exercise intensity is best for heart health — much more is not always much better“. An article from the American Heart Association.

The article discusses how most of the time, any aerobic exercise is better than no exercise. The article also points out that intense exercise can be detrimental to some as well, especially if they have insufficient training.

The article states that anyone beginning a new exercise routine should check with their doctors before beginning. An opinion here, but I think most people bypass this and just jump right in. No one wants to go to their doctor to begin doing a few push-ups and sit-ups.

However, going to your doctor to get checked out is key if you’re beginning a new program. Some want to get back into working out after not having worked out in months or years by starting with a half marathon. This article points out that “Among participants in triathlons almost 40% of cardiac events occurred in first-time participants, indicating that inadequate training or underlying heart problems may be involved.”

It’s especially important to get your doctor’s approval if you already have a known heart condition. Your doctor can specifically work with a trainer to get you the best training for your condition.

As a Personal Trainer, I couldn’t agree more with their recommendations to implement a healthy physical activity program (on your own):

  1. Warm up before exercise by doing the planned activity – such as walking – at a slower pace to let your heart rate rise gradually;
  2. Walk on a level surface for 6-8 weeks, progressing to walking up hills, jogging or taking part in more vigorous activities as long as no symptoms occur such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness, chest pain or chest pressure;
  3. Increase the amount of time spent on exercise incrementally from five to ten minutes at the beginning and build up slowly to the desired time;
  4. Lower the intensity of your exercise when environmental conditions place a greater strain on the heart, such as high humidity or high altitude to which you are not accustomed;
  5. Cool down after exercise by walking at a slow pace to let your heart rate return to normal; and
  6. Stop and seek medical evaluation if you experience any heart-related symptoms such as lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or chest pain or pressure.

Finally, if you do work with a personal trainer who ignores these… you need to fire that person.

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