Let’s face it as we get older it’s harder and harder to maintain the same level of activity we used to. But… you ask, how much exercise is enough? You have worked out regularly for the past 25 years but that doesn’t mean your out of the danger zone.
Starting in middle age our blood vessels begin to stiffen and our blood pressure starts creeping up. As we age our blood changes too becoming more viscous (thicker and stickier) and harder to pump through the body. With age our blood vessels become less flexible, making it harder for blood to move through them easily. Fatty deposits called plaque collect along our artery walls and slow the blood flow from the heart. All of these along with poor nutrition, exercise habits, weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle can increase our risk of heart disease. We do have less of a chance of arterial stiffness if we have exercised regularly in the past but continuing to exercise is essential for a healthy heart.
At least 40 minutes 4-5 times a week over a lifetime is what’s recommended by fitness professionals. This includes weight lifting and cardio movements that get your heart pumping. The following workout will give you an idea of what is needed to maintain a healthy heart…
Start with a 7-10 min warm up on a bike, treadmill or elliptical trainer keeping your intensity level at a 6-7 (using the 1-10 level of perceived excursion).
Begin your work out with weights or on a weighted machine. Weight should be heavy enough so that the last 3 reps are a bit difficult.
For your upper body….
Chest presses seated or standing 10-12 repetitions 3 sets
Rows- seated or standing 10-12 repetitions 3 sets
(Change hand positions and handles so you will target different parts of your back)
For your lower body….
Hamstring Curls-seated 10-12 repetitions 3 sets
Squats, lunges or sit to stands 10-12 repetitions 3 sets
Finish with 10-15 minutes of cardio this time getting that intensity level up to 7 or 8.
Make sure you do some stretching after every workout and stay hydrated. Remember if your lifting weights always give your muscles a day of rest before the next lift day!