Exercise And Sickness (5 of 6): Working Out With Heart Problems

What The Heck!

Ok, so you know that you have some type of heart or cardiovascular problems. It may be Coronary Heart Disease (narrowing of the arteries), heart arrhythmia, heart valve disease, congenital heart disease, vascular disease (blood vessel disease), etc.

Or maybe it is some type of health condition related to a heart problem, such as angina, atrial fibrillation, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, etc.

Every time you see a McDonald’s or Krispy Kreme commercial on T.V., you change channels, because you know that eating those high saturated fat foods is awful for your health and you don’t want to be tempted. You have also changed your exercise routine because you know that losing weight is a big deal when it comes to heart health.

You have every best intention in the world to get healthy and fit. As a matter of fact, you want to be healthy and fit (you even bought new shoes and workout clothes!).

But it’s been 2, 3, 4, 9 months and you haven’t seen results. So you say to yourself: “What The Heck?? All of that work for nothing?”

Now you start giving yourself excuses to ditch the gym, after all, “your heart could get worse if you exercise because your chest hurts every now and then when you push yourself.”

You stop exercising.

All of the sudden, those McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme commercials look appealing to you again… and you say to yourself again: ‘What the hell”. When you realize, you are leaving 7-Eleven with a Super Big Gulp Coke.

Don’t Blame Yourself

I’ve been there, trust me. If you haven’t read my other posts of this series, please do so, because I explain many things about how our bodies operate under stress, why we can’t lose weight under stress, and even gave you a cool explanation about what calories actually are, so that you can think to eat to fuel your body, in my last post.

Why is it that we always blame ourselves when we fail? No matter what, we blame ourselves, EVEN when we are actively working towards a healthy goal.

Stop right now and tell yourself out loud: “I AM PROUD OF MYSELF”. Please do that… even if you haven’t reached your health goals yet. Are you working towards it? Then be freaking proud!!

Unfortunately, your doctor didn’t tell you what to do to lose weight (because doctors weren’t trained to do so), so you are just looking around on the internet and doing the best that you can with the information that you have. But you are putting the wrong effort into it…

Now you’ve found me, so please let me help you. Hear me out and forget EVERYTHING that you have heard before.

it’s time for you to understand your heart

I know you may be a bit skeptical, but truth is: it doesn’t matter what type of heart condition or symptom that you have… your heart is overworked.

Just like when you’ve worked 60 hours one week, you are ready to go home on Friday night, and your boss comes to you and says: “About that… If you could come in tomorrow, that would be great.” Now you just want to quit and throw your computer out the window.

That’s how much your heart is working. It’s been working over-time for a long time because of your past choices when it comes to what you have put in, on, and what you have done to your body. It has caught up with you.

It takes much more effort for your heart to pump blood to every part of your body now, from head toe, than it did before. When once it was easy for your heart to do this job in about 80 beats per minute, now it has become quite difficult. Your arteries are either clogged or becoming clogged, or your heart mechanism itself has been affected somehow.

Our hearts have electrical systems. Its electrical system controls the timing of your heartbeat by regulating your:

  • Heart rate, which is the number of times your heart beats per minute.
  • Heart rhythm, which is the synchronized pumping action of your four heart chambers.

Your heart’s electrical system should maintain:

  • A steady heart rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute at rest. The heart’s electrical system also increases this rate to meet your body’s needs during physical activity and lowers it during sleep.
  • An orderly contraction of your atria and ventricles (this is called a sinus rhythm).

Since you have read my last posts and know to listen to yourself a little better, think: What can you do – exercise wise – to help your heart beat to perform its job with ease?

We should always think of our health conditions when doing something that is related to our bodies, remember?

Exercise… Ugh.

If you’ve been down the road I described at the beginning of this post, I don’t blame you for feeling tired of even hearing the word “exercise”.

When it comes to our heart though, your physical activity will help your heart do its job.

Your physical activity will stimulate your heart to pump. When you help your heart pump, it’s like you’re giving your heart a “day off” from work. So, instead of thinking of “exercising”, think of it as “helping your heart beat with ease”. Wouldn’t you want to do it every day?? I sure would! After all, it’s my heart, and no one can beat it but me! 🙂

Every time your heart beats, it pumps blood. The blood carries oxygen to every part of your body. The oxygen allows the cells within your systems, organs, and tissues to perform their jobs with ease. As a result, you feel better, with more energy, revitalized, rejuvenated!

But now you are thinking: “Well woman, it’s not like I wasn’t exercising before. I was, but wasn’t seeing results… remember?”

Ok, ok! Let me get to it: here is why you were not seeing results: You were doing too much.

Remember: your heart has an electrical system. If your heart is compromised, you can’t jump “from 0 to 240 volts”, or you can “burn it”. If you “burn it”, your body will enter a state of chronic stress. As a defense mechanism, you will enter survival mode (or storage mode), storing every bit of food as fat, within your cells… thus, not losing an ounce of weight, EVEN when going to the gym every day.

You have to increase its activity slowly.

This means:

  • do NOT lift heavy weights,
  • do NOT do HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercises,
  • do NOT do any type of exercises that you are not used to,
  • do NOT do cardio exercises for more than 30 min at a time (start with 10, then go up slowly with every session: 12, then 14, 16, you got the picture – don’t jump from 0 to 30 min),
  • DO go for walks.
  • If you want to push yourself, walk on the treadmill for at least 10 min and then DO increase the incline – going uphill – a little more every 5 min,
  • DO lift light weights. Increase the repetition a little bit with every day, as you build resistance.
  • DO yoga and stretches.

If you’ve read my last posts, you know that sometimes doing less can take you farther.

*Remember to always back down the amount – and intensity – of your workouts in the presence of any amount of pain.

**Always consult with your doctor when changing exercise routines.

Instead of thinking that you “need” to exercise to lose weight, think that you want to help your heart beat with ease.

Focus on that as you eat a healthy and balanced diet and you WILL start seeing results and dropping those unwanted pounds.

Now, if you think that you or your body is under stress due to your heart condition (or anything else!) either because it is not under control yet (i.e.: your blood pressure is up and down, your medication is making you feel worse, etc), or you just don’t feel good when you exercise, you need to follow the advice that I gave to people with Chronic Stress. Click here and I’ll take you there.

I am writing eBooks based on my research, and I will be covering more on this subject, as well as diet and lifestyle for people who have heart conditions or symptoms (related to their genetic susceptibility).

If you’d like to be the first to know when my first eBook comes out, make sure to you click below to find out your stress level and subscribe to my newsletter!

Stress Level Check

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! As always, choose to be healthy!

Wishing you a life full of heartbeats without heartaches or heartbreaks,

Gabi Brandao
Disease Prevention Advocate, Blogger, Author, Speaker, Certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and Licensed Medical Massage Practitioner by the Virginia Board of Nursing

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