Aa
A
A
A
Close
Exercise & Fitness Community
5.43k Members
973741 tn?1342346373

Life and death of exercising

The heart is a muscle, right?  Losing weight and exercising the heart muscle can save my life.  But wow, it is hard to keep at that during busy times like holidays.  Who am I kidding, it's hard on any regular day too.  What are recommendations for ways to guarantee that the heart is adequately exercised for cardiovascular health (knowing diet and such are key, but the exercise piece is daunting for me when I get out of a habit of it like I am right now, sigh)?  It's winter where I am at and am on a schedule preventing my former trips to the gym.  I'm having to do it around the house.  Help!
1 Responses
Avatar universal
While exercise is important for heart health if you're a sedentary person who basically only moves when you formally exercise, I will repeat, long-term studies that have been going on for decades of actual living humans in various communities around the world do not find formal exercise to be important to long life or healthy life.  But you know, those of us who grow up in the US don't really learn how much harm our parents caused us until we're adults, so for Americans, it's probably more important to exercise than it is for those in other developed countries who have healthier populations.  But what research does show is that movement rather than formal exercise is what's important, and that it's very hard to make up for days of sitting at a desk or in front of a TV or cellphone by exercising a bit each day.  So the societies that have been studied usually still follow a lifestyle that includes little driving and a lot of walking and bike riding to get around.  It involves not eating very much red meat.  Most importantly probably, it includes a lot of colored veggies that have the antioxidants that protect the heart from damage.  I'm guessing, Mom, that because you're raising two kids, you probably do a lot more moving around than someone who doesn't have that job, so maybe you're judging yourself a bit too harshly as to the amount of movement you're getting.  But you're also someone who is used to exercising, and so your body is used to that as well, so I'd say for you it's probably a good idea to just make the time you need for it.  I think I've shortened my life considerably in the last year because I've already got two strikes against me in that a med destroyed my ability to sleep and function and relax, and now I'm so injured my level of exercise is not only gone in one year from intensive to very little but my pain is still really high.  I'm noticing it in how I sleep, in how I feel, in everything, because my body is so used to a lot of exercise and now suddenly it isn't getting it.  That's why, given you've reported that you're been a regular exerciser for a long time, that puts you in a different category than someone who is active but doesn't formally exercise all that much but eats the foods and takes the supplements that protect the heart from oxidative damage.  So to me, again, I'd make sure your life includes what you need because of how you've lived so far -- you can't go back and get a do-over.  Here's hoping you can work with your family to make that happen.  But to others reading this who haven't yet established long-term habits, it turns out that movement and lifestyle are more important than formal exercise, at least according to the studies of actual humans as opposed to theoretical studies.  Those folks on the so-called Mediterranean Diet, who don't only live in the Mediterranean, are not known for a lot of formal exercise.  They aren't known for avoiding white flour.  They are known for not being sedentary and for eating well.  
Have an Answer?
Top Healthy Living Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
14 super-healthy foods that are worth the hype
Small changes make a big impact with these easy ways to cut hundreds of calories a day.
Forget the fountain of youth – try flossing instead! Here are 11 surprising ways to live longer.
From STD tests to mammograms, find out which screening tests you need - and when to get them.
Tips and moves to ease backaches
Here are 12 simple – and fun! – ways to boost your brainpower.