Hope you are all doing well. The summer has ended and everyone is back at work or school. My practice as always is busy.
Today I thought I would remind you all briefly on the importance of physical activity. Everybody needs it! In my own life I enjoy kettlebell training and hiking. Kettlebells are big iron balls with handles that originate from Russia. Many of the movements involve swings and ballistic movements that train groups of muscles at once. They also provide an excellent cardio workout in as little as 20 minutes. I do about 30-45 min at a time. I have been doing this now for about six months and feel great, I haven’t felt this good since high school!
Naturally, check with a doctor before starting any type of physical activity. If you want to start with kettlebells or other forms of weight training, get a trainer so you learn how to do it properly, without injuring yourself!
There are of course many different options for activity. I think it is best that you pick something that you enjoy and will do regularly. Canadian and US guidelines for physical activity recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (or 75 min of vigorous physical activity). This is about 30 min 5 days a week. You should do at least 10 min at a time to see cardiovascular benefit. As you age, incorporate more flexibility and strength exercises. For children and adolescents the guidelines are 60 minutes per day, reflecting the increased need for exercise to help them grow and develop in a healthy way. I think the cuts to PE classes that have been occurring at various schools are certainly very shortsighted.
Even if you have never exercised before, it is worth starting. There is conclusive evidence that regular exercise improves energy, sleep, mood, and helps regulate BP and cholesterol and lowers rates of heart disease and stroke. If you have heart or other disease already, check with your doctor before starting, then go for it once you have the OK. The benefit, in terms of avoiding future problems, is enormous. We are meant to be active!
I encourage you all to do your best, and wish you every success in doing so. Do you have any exercise success stories? I’d love to read them, leave me a comment!
Until next time,
John Vyselaar, MD, FRCPC
I do believe my PAC/PVC problem has disappeared at least to my untrained ear because I'm hiking the Grouse Grind 3-4 times a week and I'm also doing cycling on spin bike which keeps my heart beating hard for 20-30 minutes each session. Is it possible having a harder regular rhythm for a long period of time will train the heart to beat more regularly at rest? Can the electrical rewire? Is the heart muscle plastic?
Thank you for your comments Toby. The frequency of PACs and PVCs often vary with time. However they are also moderated by adrenaline and other factors from your peripheral nervous system. It is possible that the frequency of these events has decreased because your automonic tone has change with exercise – i.e. your resting levels of adrenaline are lower.
Liked the podcast on Blood Pressure. Biggest factor was the direct link between probability of stroke vs. high blood pressure.
Any link available to one of these graphs? Would like to see how much risk increases as BP increases.
Is one more important than the other (systolic vs. diastolic)
Great question Stephen. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure are important, and each have been shown to predict risk of stroke.
There are numerous graphs showing that stroke risk increases with blood pressure. In comparing them note that the population being studied differs which then affects the magnitude of the results. Here is one good one for the general population – you want the first graph on the page. http://www.drsforamerica.org/blog/this-will-raise-your-blood-pressure#.UVkgKb-c_bk (Ignore the politics, the science is good!).