February is Heart Healthy Month

Because February is Heart Health month, it is a great time to focus on a healthy one. John Hopkins Medical newsletter provides inspiration and motivation. OHI provides the place for the exercise every expert recommends.

An article in the newsletter states; “Regular exercise, paired with a Mediterranean-style diet, maintaining normal weight and not smoking is a great protection plan against coronary artery disease.These four lifestyle factors reduced the chance of death from all causes by 80 percent over the eight-year period that more than 6,200 subjects were tracked.”

Dr Kerry Steward, John Hopkins experts adds: “For certain heart conditions, exercise can be as powerful as some medications.”

When asked how physical activity benefits the heart, doctors offered
seven tips:

1. Exercise lowers blood pressure. 
Exercise works like beta-blocker medication to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure (at rest and when exercising).
2. Exercise is key to weight control. 
When combined with a smart diet, being physically active is essential for losing weight and keeping it off.
3. Exercise helps strengthen muscles. 
A combination of aerobic workouts (walking, running, swimming, and other vigorous heart-pumping exercise) and strength training (weight lifting, resistance training) is considered best for heart health. These exercises improve the muscles’ ability to draw oxygen from the circulating blood. That reduces the need for the heart—a muscular organ itself—to work harder to pump more blood to the muscles.
4. Exercise can help you quit smoking. 
Smoking is one of the top risk factors for heart disease because it damages the structure and function of blood vessels. As smokers get fit, they often quit.
5. Exercise can stop or slow the development of diabetes. 
Johns Hopkins research has shown that when combined with strength training, aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by over 50%.
6. Exercise reduces inflammation. 
Chronic inflammation is reduced as the body adapts to the challenge of exercise on many bodily systems.
7. Exercise lowers stress. Stress hormones can put an extra burden on the heart. Exercise—whether aerobic, resistance-oriented, or flexibility-focused—can help you relax and ease stress.

These seven ways exercise helps the heart is a reason to be part of the Monday, Wednesday and Friday OHI classes. Leader JoRene blends warm-ups, stretches, aerobics, balance, strength building and cool-downs as she offers a perfect harmony of well rounded exercise experiences. Take advantage of a professionally led total body work-out with other Oakmonters who are concerned about heart health, and doing something about it.

Whether attending in person or via Zoom, 967 9942 2442 passcode 573596, it is vital that you check with your doctor if there is any concern of your fitness level to handle moderately intense workout sessions. It may be best to start in a smaller, more gentle class and then work up to JoRene’s workouts.

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