A Look at Heart Disease

Cardiovascular health is incredibly important. With February drawing near I thought it appropriate to discuss heart disease, today. Heart disease is the number one killer in America. It kills more people than cancer. What are you doing to protect yourself?

Eight out of eleven risk factors are lifestyle choices, so you do have a choice. There are genetic factors as well, but with the scale tipped greatly toward your daily choices, t is important to understand you have a choice. The three you cannot control are: increasing age, gender, and race. The ones you control: tobacco smoke – especially cigarettes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and overweight, and diabetes. In addition are these two: too much stress and too much alcohol. Physical inactivity is a factor in six of those listed above. Hmmm, the answer seems pretty clear to me, make sure you move your body every day. Begin at your level and exercise, plus make healthy choices when choosing foods and then make sure you eat them!

To strengthen the heart, lungs, and vascular systems we perform cardiovascular training. Choose activities that make you breathe harder and make you sweat, which you can sustain over a period of time. What activities can you do to raise your heart rate? Walk, run, ride a bike (without a motor), swim, rollerblade, climb stairs, play tag with your kids, the list is long and limitless as long as it raises and sustains your heart rate.

Cardio Workouts Indoors

If you are a regular outdoor cardio exerciser how will you meet your cardiovascular goals this winter when weather isn’t great? How to reach your target heart rate with limited space and equipment? How long will you be able to maintain it?

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These are all important questions if you are going to continue to reach your fitness goals as you move inside. Many people are able to successfully implement an at home strength training workout, but lose motivation when they attempt to bring their cardio work indoors. Many feel silly, or just cannot stay excited about movement when they are attempting to reach cardiovascular training guidelines. Again, this is a good place to bring in a personal trainer to get some advice and help designing an at home program.

Many of the same questions apply when moving cardiovascular work inside as we considered when moving strength indoors. Is this going to be your only source of cardio work? Do you have space for equipment? Will you dig it out of storage to use it? What is your budget? You can still effectively train with little or no equipment, but some thought must be given to your goals and honesty is needed when examining how you will go about reaching your heart rate zone.

Do you want to purchase equipment? What type would you like to have? Are you interested in investing in a treadmill, bike, or other piece of cardio equipment? Do you have the budget for it? Will you really use it? If you can answer yes, shopping around is a must.
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There are many good brands out there, but make sure what you purchase will fit your needs. For example, do not buy a bike if you find riding boring. A treadmill is great if you use it and have the space for it, but if it is bulking or inconvenient most will ignore it. Will you do a video? Videos can be a great way to get fun exercise in. It can help make sure you are thinking about heart rate levels and are aware of safety reminders. Many enjoy the experience of a group in their own living room, and benefit from an on screen instructor.

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Be aware of some pitfalls – will you feel too silly to complete the tape? How easily do you get bored? Do you like repetition? Will you be able to stay motivated after you have mastered the steps? Make sure you consider your personality when you choose a video. There are many options, with many instructor styles, and lots of formats. Think about what you like to do and what will remain interesting to you, then choose accordingly.

If buying equipment and videos are not your style you have other options. Some things to consider when looking for places to workout inside are: Will you really be able to meet your fitness goals in this location? Do you feel safe? What type of gear do I need?

One of the biggest problems my clients face when choosing to move workouts indoors without cardiovascular equipment is keeping their heart rates up over a period of time. At home they find they get bored easily and in other locations, such as the mall, they may not be able to move fast enough for long enough to really be effective.

When deciding how to move inside it is important to consider your budget, your safety, and if you can realistically reach your cardiovascular needs. How will you retain your motivation as the activity becomes repetitive, and will you continue to push yourself as you become accustomed to the activities? Get creative.

Tell us below how you decided to get your heart pumping indoors this season.