How can you mend a broken heart? Pump it, pump it! Move it, move it! Easy does it. Repeat
No…I am not talking about a new dance move. I am talking about holistic health therapy for your heart Can you feel the beat? Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump. The heart is a muscle that needs to work a little harder once in a while in order to work well. Chronic diseases and the aging process work against the heart by changing the size, shape and function. As soon as you slow down and sit down the heart begins to harden and become weaker. The heart can keep working to its fullest potential IF you keep up with maintenance. In order to raise the heart’s potential, you need to raise the workload. Don't worry if you are a little late to the boogie woogie, you can improve your outcome anyway. The best way to a healthier heart is to pump it, move it, easy does it, repeat.
PUMP IT, PUMP IT!!
To exercise the heart is to increase the function. In medical terms you need to improve the stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped by each pump) AND the heart rate (the amount of pumps per minute), (1). A healthy heart resting pumps about 5 liters per minute This can increase to 20-25 liters per minute during exercise. A healthy resting heart beats between 60 and 100 beats per minute and can increase to the mid to upper 100’s depending on your age. All sorts of changes have to occur for your heart to meet a higher demand of exercise. These same changes are the protection you need against an aging heart. As you age, the heart muscle hardens and the walls thicken, (2). Think the skin of an apple compared to the skin of a pumpkin. Have you ever tried to peel a pumpkin? It takes a lot more effort than an apple. The mechanisms that change when the heart works harder directly combat the effects of heart disease and are proactive against an aging heart. So, keep it pumpin’ pumpkin!
MOVE IT, MOVE IT…
Cardiovascular exercise is all about movement. Walking, running, kicking, punching, arm swinging, even flapping your arms like a bird are effective cardiovascular exercises. Begin moving within a level that feels good to you. Breathing, heart rate, joints, bones and muscles can better repeat a function if it is done within the ‘safe zone’.
After checking with your physician suggested safe zones are as follows:
Breathing – Be able to hold conversation during exercise.
Heart rate – Exercise at 65%-85% of age-related target heart rate (arTHR),
(The formula for calculating your target is 220-age=(ar), (ar)x.065=THR or (ar)x.085=THR).
Joints and bones – Range of motion should be comfortable at all times.
Muscles – Should be warmed up and held loosely.
There are many age-related and chronic diseases that challenge movement and heart function. Be creative with movements you CAN do. If walking eludes you today, move your feet in your seat. If kicking or punching make your joints quiver, do small movements like a little shiver. Start small in the amount of time spent moving and the range of the motion. Expand as you feel your body allows. Two minutes of movement ten times a day adds up to a healthier heart no matter the health level or disease challenge.
Easy does it…
Meditation practice is a powerful tool against the aging heart. Every doctor visit begins with a check of blood pressure and heart rate – vital signs. Every meditation ends with lower heart rate and blood pressure – healthy heart signs. Investigators once put a meditating monk under brain fMRI and monitored his vital signs. A while into the study the investigators set off an explosion sound in the room. The monk showed no physical reaction. He had no recorded change to either his brain scan or his vital signs. Talk about keeping your cool! If you are looking for some meditations to practice please visit Hopeful Healing Health Therapy Facebook page or contact me directly for lessons.
The holistic health therapy guide to mend a broken heart is to pump it, move it, rest it, repeat.
Roh, J., Rhee, J., Chaudhari, V., & Rosenzweig, A. (2016). The Role of Exercise in Cardiac Aging: From Physiology to Molecular Mechanisms. Circulation research, 118(2), 279–295. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.305250 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4914047/
Fleg, J. L., & Strait, J. (2012). Age-associated changes in cardiovascular structure and function: a fertile milieu for future disease. Heart failure reviews, 17(4-5), 545–554. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10741-011-9270-2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4677819/