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Fitness Vs. Heart Disease

Kanaka Menehune (cc) flickr

Personal trainer Bobby Whisnand is partnering with the American Heart Association’s campaign to raise awareness about heart disease. He talked with Sam Baker about steps we can take to reduce the chances of developing heart disease.

Sam Baker: So what are things we could do? Where should we start if we want to avoid the onset of heart disease?

Bobby Whisnand: You know, I’ve got five ways to help your heart help you, and this is something I speak on a lot. And the number one thing is to be aware. Know your cholesterol numbers. Know your triglycerides. Be active, even if it’s walking around and doing simple exercises. Eating cleanly. I call it using clean fuel. Because everything we eat and drink is going to go through our heart. We have to understand nutrition: We have to understand what foods do what in our bodies; how our body uses them for energy; what times of day we should stay from certain foods; and when does our body burn body fat versus the food we ingest.  We have to give our hearts a break. We have to avoid the stress – a lot of stress in the workplace, a lot of financial stress these days. So we’ve got to lighten up. Also, how weight our body is carrying around.

Sam:  How much weight we should carry depends on height?

Bobby:  Yeah, and muscle mass, body mass index. You can get that checked out with your doctor. They can tell you how much body mass you’re carrying around and how much you should be carrying around. Every pound you lose, your body has to work less, even when you sleep. So that adds up. It adds days, months, even years, to your life.  And then, you’ve got to speak to your heart. What I mean by that is know what that heart rate means. I tell everybody take one heart rate a day. I tell everybody it needs to be 80 to…

Sam:  Is there some special equipment you’d use to do that?

Bobby: You know, you can place two fingers on your wrist, just above your thumb, where your wrist meets your thumb.  You take your two fingers and place them very lightly – a lot of people press too hard – and start pressing down until you feel it. Once you feel it, you count for six seconds and then you multiply that times ten. So whatever number you got times ten and there’s your heart rate.

The only thing I’d like to add is that people, in terms of defining exercise and becoming active, there’s a preconceived notion and a stereotypical view of exercise in a lot of ways that is “Oh, I can’t do that” or “I’m in pain” or “I don’t have the time, energy, schedule and expense of exercise.”  And I think if you take a close look at what exercise can be, it can be as little as doing six or seven exercise sitting in a chair.

Sam: For instance?

Bobby: You could take an exercise band and you could put it around your back, and you could do an exercise for your chest, your shoulders, your triceps, your back, your biceps. Take it, put it under your feet, do one for your legs. And do 30 seconds of cardio activity, pushing your arms back and forth like in a boxing movement, picking your legs up and down for 30 seconds and then repeat the exercises. Do ten to 15 repetitions, and then do 30 seconds of the cardio in between. You’ve got 12 minutes you’ve just taught your body, you taught your heart, how to help you with some physical activity.

Sam: I guess you can’t ignore the advantages of walking?

Bobby: Absolutely. It could be walking in place, walking around your building during lunch.

Sam:  So getting more exercise need not be an expensive undertaking and this can avoid or lessen heart disease?

Bobby: It absolutely lessens it just because of the physical activity and the lessening of stress and circulation of blood. And empowerment. You know, when you feel better, when you have more energy, you exert yourself more.  When you exert yourself more, you burn more calories. When you burn more calories, you’re going to lose weight.

Bobby Whisnand is Founder and CEO of Victory of Life.

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