Q&A: Exercise / Physical Fitness

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

Q: Exactly what kind of exercise do I have to do to get my heart rate high enough for cardio-vascular benefits? Many forms of exercise have a calming effect, but is it necessary to work up a sweat to actually help my heart?

My answer to this question never changes. The best exercise is the one that you will do. And for this reason, I recommend to my patients that they take up the simplest and most pleasant forms: walking and dancing. In fact, because the whole goal of exercise is to get out and move yourself around, think of walking and dancing as movement, not exercise.

Walking and dancing (by dancing I also mean simply putting on a tape or CD and dancing around your kitchen or living room) strengthen your heart and circulatory system, build stamina and improve your state of mind. For optimum health, I suggest you walk at least a mile a day (If you do this every day for 12 months without changing your diet you will loose 10 pounds). Enjoy the sensory pleasures while walking that you miss driving your car. Try to let parts of your body that are stiff or rigid relax as you stride along. It will be a very pleasurable experience, especially if you allow yourself to daydream, fantasize and let your feelings go.

A word of caution if you are a fanatical jogger, bicyclist, roller blader, etc. – you must take antioxidant supplements regularly. An increased metabolic rate associated with even these moderate types of exercise causes elevated levels of free radicals. Taking nutritional supplements prevents the oxidation of fats and neutralizes free radicals before they can damage your arterial walls. Supplements also help prevent DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness).

Do you have a question about exercise / physical fitness that you’d like answered on our site? E-mail us at info@heartmdinstitute.com and we’ll do our best to post an answer in this article or elsewhere on the site.

*Indicates that Q&A has been reprinted or adapted from Candid Advice About Your Heart, a Heart, Health & Nutrition supplement, with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC.

**Indicates that Q&A has been posted in response to emails or comments submitted to Heart MD Institute. © 2012 HeartMD Institute. All rights reserved.

Please note that Dr. Sinatra does not provide medical advice through Heart MD Institute; any and all information found on this site is intended solely as an informational tool, and it should never replace a visit to your physician, nor be considered medical advice upon which you rely when making health-related decisions.

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