We are all aware that a healthy heart is vital to maintaining overall health and independence. Are you doing what you can to ensure your heart health is a priority?
Let’s compare your body to a car (are you a vintage FJ Holden or a sporty Mercedes – we are not judging!) Then, let’s say your heart was the engine… an unhealthy engine can mean a sluggish car, slow up hills, cranky in the mornings. So off for a service.
Much like your car, if you are not running properly, you should have a thorough health check. Your GP can guide you and arrange any cardiovascular testing that’s needed. Then, with the help of your physiotherapist you can be off and racing.
So what is cardiovascular fitness?
Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of your heart and blood vessels to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to your muscles so you can function. It really is possible to improve your cardiovascular fitness and exercise is one of the best ways.
A healthy cardiovascular system allows the body to function well all day, every day; and very importantly, also ensures recovery from injury and illness is much faster. The healthier and fitter your cardiovascular system, the better you will feel, and the more active you could be.
How can I help my cardiovascular fitness?
Get active. It's never too late to start.
Walking: Start with a walk – it’s simple, and free! In summer avoid the extreme heat by timimg it for early mornings or evenings. Shopping centres also provide long, airconditioned “walking tracks”. Adjust the intensity by changing the distance or the incline – a short uphill walk is as hard as a longer flat walk.
Take your smart phone and measure your walk (try apps like Map My Walk). Increasing slowly will help avoid too many aches and pains – try adding to the time or distance by about 10 percent each week.
Swimming: If walking is not ideal for you, explore some aquatic options. Swimming, dog paddling, or joining a low intensity aqua class could be just the thing for you. Exercising in the water is virtually weightless, and puts less pressure on your joints; which is ideal for those recovering from any kind surgery, and those with arthritis, or similar joint pains. Whatever you choose to do, start off slowly and gradually increase the distance, rate and the time spent exercising.
Group classes: Join an exercise class. There is research to show that people who join group exercise are more likely to keep attending, as they are motivated by the social aspects of the group, and the benefits of the exercise are not just physical. If you’re interested in aqua classes, but can’t swim, you don’t have to know how. Just make sure the instructor is aware of your ability level.
Incidental exercise: One of the most effective ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine is through ‘incidental’ exercise. You can clock up some exercise mileage without really thinking about it.
- Parking the car an extra 50-100m away and walking to the shops;
- Using the stairs instead of the escalator or lift;
- If you are in a shopping centre, walking a few laps inside the complex before you start your shopping; and
- TV training – use the ad breaks during your favourite TV programs to walk from one end of your house to the other as many times as you can or by hiding the remote.
If you are having difficulty getting started, why not ask a mobile ‘peoplemechanic’ to come to you and help you with your health?
So, how is your engine? Does it need a service or does it just need a little fine tuning? No matter what state your engine, ongoing maintenance is vital for its daily performance and ultimately its longevity.
So make the decision to get the best out of your heart, your health and in your own home!
Article originally written by Mobile Rehab.
Click the button below to discover more great articles in our latest issue of Chapter magazine.