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Posts Tagged ‘exercise for cardiovascular health’

Start a New Walking Program

To show your support of American Heart Association, take a walk and share your photos on social media with #AHALaceUp.

To show your support of American Heart Association, take a walk and share your photos on social media with #AHALaceUp.

Recent studies have shown an increase of inactive adults in the United States. This is a problem when you consider that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease. But, it’s a problem that can be fixed.

Walking for as few as 30 minutes a day, five days a week not only provides heart health benefits, but it reduces the risk of all death by all causes by 58 percent.

To conquer inactivity and celebrate National Walking Day, Cooper Fitness Center Dallas Professional Fitness Trainer April Swales offers advice on how you can start a walking program. Follow these tips to a fit, healthy self.

Getting Started
If you are going from a sedentary lifestyle to a regular walking routine, begin with short walks for a limited amount of time. For instance, start by walking for ten minutes at a time and work your way up from that time period.

Stepping It Up
One shoe does not fit all. Before beginning a new walking program, it is valuable to invest in a good pair of walking or running shoes.

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you can visit stores like RunOn or Luke’s Locker to have a specialist analyze your foot and the way that you step. From that point, they can fit you with a shoe that complements your foot’s shape and pronation.

Going the Distance
Rather than focusing on the distance traveled, think about how long you have actually spent walking. You do not want to increase your distance too quickly because it could result in negative side effects. Instead, each day add on a few more minutes to your walking routine.

Fit in Hydration
It is important to stay hydrated during your workouts. Water is important for every single cell function in your body. Staying hydrated will keep your body functioning as it should, so you can make the most out of every workout.

Adding Intensity
Once you reach an intermediate level of fitness, you can begin to take your workouts up a notch. You can add intensity by warming up with dynamic stretches, keep a challenging pace or adding interval training to your walking workout.

Find a Walking Path
The American Heart Association has created a list of walking paths. From parks to shopping malls, check out this list of American Heart Association-designed walking paths across the country. And when you’re traveling, you can find a local path to take and keep on your route to healthy living.

Walking is the single most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health, and it is the simplest way to start and continue a fitness journey. Look for ways to incorporate more walking into your day, whether it’s parking the car father away from your destination or going for a family walk after dinner.

For more information on Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas, click here or call 972.233.4832.

Aerobic vs. Cardiovascular Exercise

Aerobic ExerciseAerobic exercise or cardiovascular exercise – what’s the difference? You may not know the answer to the question, but it’s simple. They are the same!

As you kick off your cardio routine, it’s important to know if what you’re doing is truly aerobic or not, and which exercises qualify as aerobic. Aerobic exercise must meet three criteria:

  1. It must engage large muscle groups.
  2. It must use lots of oxygen.
  3. It should be something you can do continuously.

When an activity meets all three of Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper’s criteria, it is considered to be an aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. In Dr. Cooper’s book, Aerobics for Total Well-Being, he developed a list primary and secondary aerobic activities.

Primary exercises would exercise such as cross-country skiing, swimming, running, jogging, cycling or walking. Dr. Cooper also documented a list of secondary exercises. They meet the three criteria pretty well, but not quite as well as the primary exercises. For example, circuit weight training would fall into the secondary exercises.

Finding Your Sweet Spot
There are multiple activities you can do to gain cardiovascular benefits. Everyone has their own workout preferences, and you may find that you’re more adherent to an exercise program if you vary what you’re doing. Try switching up your activities throughout the week.

How much aerobic exercise do yo need for health benefits? The Cooper Institute is a proponent of the American College of Sports Medicine‘s recommendation to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity as a minimum for good health. Depending on what your goals are, it will influence you how much exercise you should do.

Remember – more is better, but only to a certain point. It varies from person to person, so there’s not an definitive answer on how much is too much. The sweet spot for optimal health benefits of aerobic activity is in between 150 to 300 minutes per week. Once you go beyond 300 minutes, you may receive additional fitness benefits, but you may not get added health benefits.

What’s your favorite aerobic exercise?

How Much Running is Too Much?

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Excessive RunningResearch from The Cooper Institute has shown that the value of exercise is overwhelmingly good; however, studies also show that more is not always better. 

How much running is too much? This a very controversial question, but Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, has long said that if you are running more than 15 miles a week, you are doing it for a reason other than health. When you run beyond 15 miles a week, there is a fairly sharp increase of muscular skeletal problems in areas such as your knees and hips.

If you are training for a vigorous physical activity like endurance running, it’s important to make sure that you are not damaging your body tissues.  When you are an endurance athlete, your body can be compromised from oxidative stress as you lose essential nutrients through sweat and increased oxygen consumption. When this occurs, your body can begin to produce dangerous free radicals, which are a by-product from the metabolism of oxygen. An increase in these free radicals throughout your body can result in soreness, DNA damage, cancer, muscle tissue damage and other degenerative diseases.

Running 30+ miles per week may be linked to scarring of the heart due to a lack of oxygen and free radical damage. If you’re running this much, Dr. Cooper says it is imperative that you supplement your body with the proper nutrients to suppress any DNA damage from free radicals. Elite athletes can benefit by taking the proper dosages of vitamins E, C and beta carotene. Dr. Cooper recommends taking 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E twice a day to decrease risks associated with excess running. The Cooper Complete Elite Athlete formula provides the nutrients needed to suppress free radical damage.

Over the years, there have been reports of sudden deaths while endurance athletes were running. Dr. Cooper stresses that this is a rarity, because the majority of athletes who suddenly die while running often have an underlying congenital heart defect. This defect can typically be detected from an EKG.

Our bodies were designed to be fit and active. When you put this topic into perspective, you can clearly see that the proven benefits of exercise outweigh the risks associated it. If you are an endurance athlete, consult your physician to ensure that you are receiving the proper supplementation to stay healthy while you train.

For more information, read The Dallas Morning Newsrecent article where Dr. Cooper discussed this topic or you can view Dr. Cooper’s statement on excessive exercise that he published as a result a Wall Street Journal article on endurance sports.