The heart is our engine, our most precious asset, the one that will allow us to move forward and, for this reason, we must take care of it.
What happens is that the fast pace of Western societies puts it under high levels of stress. So much so that heart disease has become the leading cause of death in developed countries.
- Getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily is good for your heart.
- People who suffer from heart disease should include physical activity in their daily lives.
- Walking is the most recommended exercise: half an hour a day at a moderate pace.
But beyond the figures, who more who less has a friend or relative who suffers from some type of heart problem, which forces them to consider changes in their daily habits and activities.
The funny thing is that in many cases, luckily less and less, only one realizes that he does not do things quite right until a negative event happens. At that time, we did think about improving (stop smoking, eat better, start exercising…).
Ideally, we should not go to those extremes but rather routinely follow healthy habits. For example, at the level of physical activity, just walking 30 minutes a day at a moderate pace already reduces the chances of suffering from a heart problem, is not so difficult to incorporate into our habits, right?
There is always time to improve and reduce risks. But in the event that a disease is already suffered, we must still focus more on taking care of our treasure. A sick heart should not be abandoned, but on the contrary, it is necessary to monitor even more and follow very clear guidelines . There are exercise routines both for follow-up in hospital services or medical centers as well as in sports clubs or well thought out to perform at home that can improve the quality of life of the patient.
Benefits of walking
Walking would be the most basic exercise and the one most recommended by doctors for promoting correct cardiovascular health. The reason is that we are facing an easy activity and within everyone’s reach. It is not about doing kilometers and kilometers every day but about knowing what the capacities of each individual are and adapting to the circumstances. To begin with, it is about looking for a flat terrain, without slopes, and progressively trying to reach the goal of walking 30 minutes at a good pace (which allows us to have a conversation). And it is important to walk without stopping, therefore it would not be useful to walk while you go shopping and one is stopping at the windows or entering the stores.
By walking we not only start the heart but we will be activating the blood vessels that in many cases have been the cause of the heart problem. Vessel walls, after all, are tissues that benefit from exercise. If we keep them in shape we will be acting not only on a therapeutic level but also on the prevention of complications associated with the already existing disease.
Surely it will be the doctor himself who recommends the practice of exercise. If not, before starting, it is important to know what the real state of health is and to arrange a visit. In this way, in addition to knowing the history that has led the person to suffer from the disease, it is most likely that he will perform a stress test, with which he can see in real time the adaptations of the heart to an effort. It can be done on the treadmill or on the bicycle, and with the data obtained you can recommend the type of activity that best suits your needs within a safety framework.
It depends on the importance of the disease of each person, the guidelines will be different and probably very personalized, but in most cases aerobic activity is recommended, one in which oxygen is basically used for energy: walking, cycling, rowing, swimming …
If the person has just come out of an acute cardiac episode, supervised activity is usually prescribed in a rehabilitation center where professionals do a thorough monitoring to achieve improvement and readjustment to normal activities.
When more time has passed or has stabilized, aerobic activity can be part of the recommended routine (cycling, swimming or why not, aquagym-like activities).