Health is where the heart is

September 9, 2012

Exercise, Healing, Health, Heart disease

Your heart is the most important muscle in your body. It is responsible for pumping blood and oxygen efficiently throughout your entire anatomy.

by Scott White — 

The statistics are grim, and the truth hurts. Perhaps you may not realize …

  • America’s number one killer is cardiovascular disease.
  • More than 900,000 Americans die each year from heart and blood vessel disorders.
  • Two out of five U.S. deaths are caused by heart disease.
  • More than 2,500 Americans die each day from a form of cardiovascular disease.
  • Approximately 250,000 people in the U.S. succumb to heart attacks before reaching the hospital.
  • Half of heart-attack victims wait more than two hours before seeking help.
  • Fifty million Americans have high blood pressure, the leading cause of heart disease, and 35 percent of them don’t know it.

These statistics are sufficient reason for us to focus on the benefits of cardiovascular exercise. Your heart is the most important muscle in your body. It is responsible for pumping blood and oxygen efficiently throughout your entire anatomy. Without this efficient pumping, our bodies are deprived of the nutrients they need to maintain quality of life.

If you are new to health and fitness and your doctor has advised you to strengthen your heart through cardiovascular exercise, your best route is to hire a certified fitness trainer. In order to be effective, your program must be a perfect blend of cardio exercise and resistance training. A certified trainer is more likely to help you craft such an exercise plan than one who, in spite of many years spent in a gym, has not undergone certification.

A good trainer will start you with a thorough warm-up. Dr. Paul Chek is a holistic health practitioner and neuromuscular therapist who heads the Chek Institute, a California-based organization that specializes in correct fitness training. He suggests that before beginning your cardiovascular exercises, you perform a warm-up that takes into account the SAID (specific adaptations to imposed demands) principle.

A SAID warm-up, according to Chek, replicates all the body movements that will be used in any given exercise for 50 to 75 percent of the predicted training intensity. So, if Monday’s cardio exercise will involve riding a stationary bike, the legs must receive a thorough warm-up. If the plan calls for brisk walking another day, then the legs, arms and torso must be properly warmed up.

A good cardiovascular program should not be a monotonous routine. One option is to combine aerobic workouts with resistance or weight training. Spurts of training — also known as sudden bursts — are another good way to rev up your body.

Cardiovascular exercise is not only beneficial to the heart, but also contributes to an increase in enzyme and metabolic activity. Benefits generated by regular physical exercise include burning fat, thus reducing the likelihood of clogged arteries that can prevent oxygen from making its way to the heart.

The benefits of cardiovascular exercise are important for both young and old, alike. We must all remember that the life muscle — the heart — needs regular TLC, and cardiovascular exercise is one of the best forms of heart TLC.

It is a proven fact that regular, consistent cardiovascular exercise like running, tennis, swimming or biking — any activity that gets your heart pumping — can stave off heart disease in the long term. So, be kind to your heart and exercise.


Scott White is a certified personal trainer, nutritionist and NLP practitioner located in Scottsdale, Ariz. 480-628-1607, or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 4, August/September 2008.

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