The Influence of Exercising on the Heart

Everyone knows that an active lifestyle combined with a well-timed and tailored exercising routine is good for the heart. Lately, however, there has been a certain amount of controversy about what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ when it comes to cardiovascular disease.

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There are three distinctive types of exercising: static, dynamic and explosive.

Static Training

Definition. Static or isometric exercise is a type of training in which muscles are contracted over a period of time but their length does not change. In this case no obvious training may be happening, but muscles are flexed and a lot of energy is actually being burned, leading to accumulation of waste products, primarily lactic acid. Plank is an example of this type of training.

Definition. Static or isometric exercise is a type of training in which muscles are contracted over a period of time but their length does not change. In this case no obvious training may be happening, but muscles are flexed and a lot of energy is actually being burned, leading to accumulation of waste products, primarily lactic acid. Plank is an example of this type of training.

Result. Patients with angina pectoris are highly advised against doing isometric exercise, as well as people with a history of heart attack, inflammatory cardiomyopathy, or heart failure.

Explosive Training

Definition. Explosive exercise is characterised by short bouts of extreme muscle contraction, which happens, for example, while lifting weights. Such training is considered to be the least beneficial for the heart.

Effect on the body. In this case the heart is forced to supply for substantial muscle strain and resist the combined effect of static training, when contracted muscles press on the blood vessels, and dynamic training, which is accompanied with an avalanche-like energy consumption.

Result. Even though explosive exercises are usually short, they subject the heart to significant strain. Such training is absolutely contraindicated to people with severe heart conditions. Those whose cardiovascular system is healthy still need to be cautious in building the most suitable explosive exercise routine. Repeated explosive training reaching maximum strain is particularly dangerous. For someone with coronary artery disease even a single explosive workout may be the last one.

Dynamic Training

Definition. Dynamic exercise consists of alternating bouts of straining the muscles and relaxing them. Walking, running and swimming are all examples of such exercise.

Effect on the body. The muscles need more oxygen, which forces the heart to pump blood faster. Adrenal and thyroid glands, which are suppressed in obese people, are activated; more carbohydrates are burned, and the muscles consume more oxygen. Systems that have hypotensive effect also spring into action. Muscles squeeze blood vessels and then release them, creating a “muscle heart” of sorts that helps the heart to pump blood efficiently without overstraining it. This explains why patients after a heart attack and those with heart failure are highly recommended to go for walks. As physical load increases, the need for energy goes up as well. Whereas before that carbohydrates were the main source of energy, fat starts being burned after 15-20 minutes of dynamic exercise. So if your aim is to lose weight, burn extra calories and excess cholesterol, you’ll have to train for at least 20 minutes.

Result. Dynamic exercise increases blood pressure, heart rate, and the amount of adrenaline and other hormones in the blood. If such training is done in moderation and within a healthy range, the body gains tremendous benefit.

What Happens If I Increase the Strain?

At some point the effect of exercise on all body systems stops being beneficial. When you reach the maximum of oxygen consumption capacity, exercise starts ruining your organism: muscles, blood vessels, the heart, and the brain are damaged; protein, carbohydrate, fat, and hormonal metabolism gets disrupted.

How Do I Dose Exercise Properly?

It is crucial to know at least approximately where your limits are. While there are a number of ways to estimate your healthy range of exercising capability, the easiest one is to calculate your maximum heart rate at which muscles still consume oxygen efficiently. Your maximum heart rate can be calculated using a simplified formula that subtracts your age from 220, meaning that if you are 45, your healthy heart rate limit is 220 - 45 = 175.

The next step is to understand what your submaximum heart rate should be. For trained healthy people it is at 85% of the maximum, and for those with a history of heart conditions it is at 75%.

Conclusion

Moderate daily exercise is capable of decreasing the level of neurohormones and increasing strain resistance, as well as emotional vitality and overall quality of life. Before commiting to an exercise program, consult a doctor, and if you are over 30, get an ECG as well. Your physician will advise on the right way to get active, and if you are over 40, it is recommended to start with walking and increase the pace and distance gradually. For those suffering from obesity it is best to concentrate on duration rather than pace.

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Below are some tips on how to estimate the strain:

CriterionLevel of exhaustion
LowMediumHigh
 Skin color Flushed Red Red as tomato or pale, blue lips
 Sweating Slight Noticeable, upper body Noticeable, lower body
BreathingFast and regularVery fast, sometimes through the mouthVery fast, irregular, through the mouth
MovementCoordinatedSlightly desynchronizedUncoordinated
FeelingsNo complaintsSlight fatigue, soreness in legs, shortness of breath and tachycardiaFatigue, headache, nausea, lightheadedness
 

Remember that excess strain may have tragic consequences.

What We Can Do to Help You

Doesn’t it sound great to always know how your heart is doing? If it does, all you need to do is to put on your favorite or newly-purchased fitness tracker and sign in to our app.

Once you are registered in the system and your individual physical data are taken for further calculation of rates that will represent YOUR PERSONAL NORM, the application will continuously monitor further dynamics of changes. In our next release, we will send you notifications informing you of any deviations from your ideal heart rate!

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