When the average person considers exercise, it is often associated with weight loss or muscle strengthening and tightening, which of course is a valid association. Exercising regularly can support all of these goals, and we see the manifestations of its effects on the body, whether we celebrate shedding fat in some areas or start to notice more muscle definition. People often commit to working out to get lean, feel stronger, and gain increased endurance and stamina. Many however don’t really understand what goes on biologically when they exercise, particularly how its effects on the heart highly influence the achievement of those goals, and provide countless other health benefits.
The fact that regular physical activity improves cardiovascular health has become undisputed within the medical community. Routine exercise is widely associated with lower blood pressure, a decline in cardiovascular mortality, an increase in life expectancy, as well as a decrease in the risk of potentially developing diabetes.
There are many detailed biological clarifications on the processes by which it provides these benefits, but here’s a simplified account: exercise strengthens your muscles, improving their ability to pull oxygen out of the blood, which ultimately reduces the heart’s need to pump more blood to the muscles. The heart itself is a muscle that strengthens its contractions over time, due to your other muscles supporting the circulation of blood, taking some of the burden and effort needed from your heart.
It is known that exercise also improves your mental well-being, which also decreases the release of stress hormones that would usually cause strain to your heart’s functionality. It also slows your resting heart rate, progresses your ability to intake deep breaths, ensures normal blood flow, and increases the “good cholesterol” in your body.
Finally, research has found that those who work out regularly are less likely to suffer from a sudden heart attack, life-threatening cardiac events, and cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is so prevalent that it is now the universal leading cause of mortality. In fact, CVD (a term that refers to all conditions affecting the heart) accounts for over 600,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. Research has proven that the prevalence of poor cardiovascular health and CVD is directly associated with low levels of exercise and physical activity, to the point where the casualties of all genders have been found to be inversely related to fitness levels.
Routine activity, as mentioned above, decreases the risks of heart diseases and other potential heart problems in many ways, including by improving circulation and oxygen retention, strengthening the heart muscle, increasing energy levels, and decreasing shortness of breath.
Don’t feel intimidated by the idea of exercise, because even the most fit athletes had to start somewhere. Research recommends that you begin by simply taking long walks, or jogging or swimming, or any other aerobic exercises. Walking for 30 minutes for 5 days a week for example, and as you progress you could run or bike for 30 minutes, for at least three days a week.
In general, it is important for you to keep your heart rate in mind. When exercising, your body demands stronger blood flow, so you experience an increase in heart rate; monitoring this increase could benefit your program planning tremendously. You may not be increasing your heart rate enough, or you may be exercising too little. You can monitor these patterns successfully by paying attention to your heart rate zones.
Heart rate zones are the percentage of your maximum heart rate (which is usually calculated as heartbeats per minute). If you exercise and reach your maximum your body will find it very difficult to keep up with the blood flow demands. Monitoring your heart rate will help you keep track of what level you are at in your fitness, and as you increase your efforts and the workouts get more demanding, your heart deals with more demands from your body. Keeping track can also let you know when your body is using carbs or fat as an energy source; the more exercise you do and the higher your heart rate, the more likely it is that you’re relying on carbs and not fat for fuel.
The first step to figure out what you want your target heart rate zone to be is to find your maximum heartrate, which can be approximately determined if you subtract your age from 220. For example, if you were 50 years old, your maximum heart rate is 170 beats/minute. Afterwards, you multiply that number, 170 beats/minute or whatever your rate is, to the percentage in your desired exercise heart rate zone. Below is a list of heart rate zones that are under three categories:
Going back to our example, if you’re 50 and want to exercise at a low intensity rate, its 180 times 50%, which would range from 85 and 100 beats/minute. During your exercise some advanced exercise machines, such as treadmills and elliptical track your heart rate for you, otherwise you could purchase a Fitbit, or any fitness tracker.
Does all of this sound a little too complicated? This is where MySeema could offer a helping hand. If you subscribe to MySeema’s routine tier service with hopes to increase your physical activity or facilitate weight loss or weight gain, we keep track of all your personalized metrics for you. As you start your journey with us, we take note of initial heart rates during exercise and continue to monitor them, informing you about your progress along the way. We give advice on the best workouts that will achieve your goals, and provide ideas on how to maintain and then increase your target heart rate as you continue your fitness journey.
Contact us through our to get all your answers from a friendly MySeema representative. We also offer free consultations!