Heart Healthy Physical Therapy

Heart Healthy Physical Therapy


Good day. My name is Michael Mansour and I am a physical therapist at the St. Cloud VA today I’m going to talk about exercise and its importance for heart health Exercise is very important for heart health your heart is a muscle and like all muscles exercise helps maintain peak health Inactivity is one of the major causes of heart disease Exercise has been shown to improve heart health and may even help reverse some heart disease risk factors Exercise improves your good cholesterol, or your high-density cholesterol excess cholesterol accumulates on the inner linings of your arteries as this continues to grow Blood flow is blocked and clots form which can break away and cause strokes and heart attacks among other major medical problems Triglycerides are a fat found in blood Exercise helps lower this high blood pressure is directly correlated with high incidence of heart disease and strokes This also tends to rise as we get older When arteries are clogged it increases blood pressure as a heart has to work harder to push blood through This puts more strain on the heart as the blood return is not as efficient as it would be with healthy blood vessels other benefits of exercise include a lower risk of diabetes a hedge against colon cancer stronger bones weight Loss and a longer life So what does exercise entail when we discuss exercise with patients we talk about the frequency intensity time and type of activity or fit Before beginning an exercise program it is important to check with your doctor to make sure you are able to tolerate exercise infections unstable or undiagnosed heart conditions or recent heart attacks will need close monitoring prior to starting an exercise program an exercise program consists of a warm-up a workout and a cool-down It is important to arm up prior to an exercise program Starting gradually allows your blood vessels to increase in size ensuring your muscles are well supplied with oxygen It also allows your heart rate to slowly rise which minimizes stress to your heart The cooling down phase is important too because after exercise your heart is still beating faster than normal your body temperature is higher and blood vessels are dilated if you stop too fast you could get dizzy and pass out or feel sick I will now talk about frequency or how many days a week we need to exercise Everyone should try to be active five or more days a week start slowly and gradually increase activity if you are a beginner start with two to three days of aerobic activity This is an activity that increases your heart rate Gradually increase to five days a week this chart shows different phases of intensity and the benefit or effect of each activity Everyone including beginners always warm up and cool down. Be active at a moderate intensity like a brisk walk be active at a rate that allows you to talk Slow down if you have trouble breathing, or can’t catch your breath Stretching is good to do after exercise But should never be painful just a gentle pull when we are in moderate intensity exercise We breathe a little harder and may sweat slightly it is an activity you should be able to do for 45 minutes Examples would include yard work brisk walking or slow cycling During vigorous exercise you are breathing harder your heart is beating faster, and you are sweating examples include running swimming and racket sports There are two easy ways to measure how hard you are working the talk test In moderate intensity you should be able to carry on a conversation comfortably If this is difficult you are at a vigorous intensity The borg or perceived exertion scale helps create how hard the activity is it goes from 6 or very light exercise to 20 which is maximum effort which is difficult to do for longer periods of time How long do I need to exercise? Try to stay active for at least 10 minutes without stopping Remember something is always better than nothing aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity throughout the day If you can do 30 minutes you can increase the time or increase the intensity of the activity the American Heart Association recommends an average of 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity three to four times a week to lower blood pressure and cholesterol There are three main types of exercise aerobic exercise strength training and stretching aerobic exercise increases your endurance Improves heart rate and lung efficiency and is a good pain reliever because it helps release endorphins or the body’s natural painkillers Strength training is important for pain relief strong bones and increased power which translates into more usable energy Strength training is good for weight loss as it increases your metabolism throughout the day and even when you sleep Stretching helps maintain good range of motion which is good for pain control improve balance as well as muscle coordination it also relieves muscle tension and improve circulation for more information on exercise and heart health visit move.va.gov

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