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Q: Is it safe to exercise with a risk of heart problems?

Posted February 11, 2015 in Advice Column, Greene County

A: Yes.  A new study shows that contrary to previous belief, even elderly heart patients can benefit from regular exercise.  Every February, the American Heart Association celebrates American Heart Month, yet heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.  1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease!

Over the course of a lifetime, muscle is constantly made and degraded, and with age, the deterioration becomes dominant, leading to weakness and difficulty in maintaining cardiac and respiratory health.  It was previously thought that exercise would worse heart failure patients’ condition but peer reviewed studies in 2012 determined that regardless of age, heart patients can benefit from exercise, and rather than worsening their condition, physical activity actually improves health and may even speed up recovery.

A simple way to start exercising is by walking. The Greene County Community Center offers many different levels of membership, including usage of the track! Identify your goals and work towards them. Maybe that’s walking 3 days a week for 20 minutes for the first month and then increasing each month.

Talk with your doctor about a manageable plan to take charge of your health!  Other important efforts to reduce risk of heart problems would be to lower salt intake, quit smoking, and make better nutritious choices that lead to a healthier weight management.  (Information received from the American Heart Association and Time Magazine.)

Information from the American Heart Association and Time magazine, provided by Toni Linberg, director of marketing, Regency Park Nursing and Rehab, 100 Ram Drive, Jefferson, (515) 386-4107.

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