The Real Truth About Physical Activity and Heart Disease

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, killing one person every 37 seconds. Did this wake you up?

Chances are you know someone who has died from heart disease. It’s a health condition that doesn’t discriminate, affecting the lives of both men and women, and people of every race and ethnicity. One of the scary facts about this disease is that it can often be “silent” until you experience a true emergency, like a heart attack or heart failure.

These facts are sobering, so what can we do? Studies indicate that pairing a heart healthy diet with regular exercise and lifestyle modifications is the best way to not only  prevent heart disease, but to reverse it. Find out about products that support a healthy lifestyle in our healthy heart guide.

Your heart needs to be exercised, just like any other muscle in the body, to function at its best. Contrary to popular belief, however, it is not necessary, nor always the best, to perform hard core, intense daily workouts at the gym. Research shows that the best type of exercise for your heart is exercise you actually enjoy and will perform on a regular basis.

This article discusses 9 simple tips to boost cardiac health and reduce/prevent heart disease through movement. Below is an excerpt from my book, The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health:.

9 Tips to Boost Cardiac Health: Stay Physically Active

  1. Do it outside as much as possible. Even in cold weather, bundle up and go. I used to ride with a cycling group in the west suburbs of Chicago. The owner’s motto was, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” We rode in the snow countless times. When it’s hot, go in the morning or late evening. Join a group or go with a partner if safety is an issue. Get sunshine.
  2. Walk, hike, bike, jog, sprint, swim, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, climb, etc.
  3. The best way to heart health is with burst activity. Burst means go hard for a while then slow or rest. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. This would be the most Paloe-esque form of exercise. Our ancestors were not running marathons.
  4. Build muscle mass. Do push-ups, pull-ups, planks, squats, lunges, handstands, etc. This does not require fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership. Muscle building has been shown to lower inflammation, raise levels of testosterone, increase fat burning, lower blood glucose, and lower cardiovascular risk. Paleo people did the same all day long by lifting rocks, logs, food and babies. You may need to purchase weights at some point to really build muscle and progress in health. Burst activity to muscle building ratio should be 1:1 as far as time goes. A great workout only takes 20-30 minutes by following this plan. Find time to do it.
  5. Start slow. I know you were a star athlete in high school,  but guess what? You are not in high school. For many reading The Paleo Cardiologist book, high school was 30-40 years ago or more. You get the point. Ease into a regular workout routine and gradually make it more rigorous
  6. Listen to “earth music”. When you are outside, listen to the birds, the trees, the wind. You will be in touch with nature. Avoiding the music distraction allows you to focus on your breathing, your position, and is much likely safer. Once in a while, it’s okay to listen to your favorite songs, but try to minimize EMF exposure.
  7. Walk or ride a bike instead of driving.
  8. Stand instead of sitting. Get a standing desk. Stand and read. Stand while on the phone.
  9. Live barefoot (as much as possible). Our ancestors did it full time. No other animal wears shoes. If you wear shoes, wear thin soles. Incorporate the concept of “Earthing” popularized by Clint Obet.

Bottom Line:

Although much of life is out of our control, it is possible to build lifestyle habits that prevent or reverse heart disease. Incorporating daily movement with the above tips along with a heart-healthy ancestral diet will go a long way in boosting your heart and overall wellness.

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