Screening for heart disease and providing our patients with guidelines to lessen the risks of developing heart disease are an integral part of NYMA’s practice. The majority of Americans are far too sedentary, so one of the NYMA physician’s primary concerns is making sure our patients are getting at least the recommended amount of exercise. Exercise is one of the key ways to prevent developing heart disease. In addition to a number of benefits, regular exercise helps people maintain a healthy weight and strengthens the cardiovascular system. Maintaining a healthy weight is a crucial part of your heart health, especially as you age. Being overweight can increase your chance of developing a number of diseases and conditions including, heart disease and stroke. Your cardiovascular system transports nutrients, oxygen, water and hormones through your body, and regular exercise makes your cardiovascular system work at its optimal level.
We recommend doing exercises you enjoy and that will not result in injury or overexertion. The American Heart Association recommends thirty minutes of moderate exercise, five times a week. If you are new to exercising, you might be wondering what constitutes moderate exercise. A good rule of thumb is that during moderate exercise you should still be able to carry on a conversation with a little extra effort. Brisk walking is one example. Depending on what you enjoy doing and your current fitness level, exercises from walking or jogging to swimming or biking are all great options for increasing the amount of exercise you include in your life.
High intensity interval training is another great option for exercise, with proven health benefits. This regimen includes alternating periods of intense exercise, often measured by achieving 90-95% of your maximal predicted heart rate, with periods of low intensity exercise, often measured by achieving 60% of your maximal predicted heart rate. A good rule of thumb to calculate your maximal predicted heart rate is 220 minus your age (for example, for a 50 year old, this would equal 170 beats per minute).
Each patient differs in how they respond to a specific activity, and your doctor will individualize an exercise regimen appropriate for you. The best and healthiest exercises are ones you will do safely and consistently.