The Baby Boomer Heart: Healing Fitness
When it comes to protecting your heart, fitness plays a key role.
Getting Started Getting Fit
If you're like most adults, it could be 10, 20, or even 30 years since you
participated in any kind of meaningful physical activity. And if that is the
case, doctors say the last thing you want to do is put on the football jersey
and head for a weekend game of touch football with your nephew and his college
buddies. Likewise ladies, don't dust off those old aerobic tapes and expect to
go full tilt on day one.
Start slow and build up gradually.
"You don't have to have any kind of stress test. You just start walking
more, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car farther
rather than closer to the store entry. Just begin by incorporating more
movement in your normal life," says Siegel.
If you do feel discomfort while walking -- or doing any physical activity --
and feel better when you rest, talk to your doctor about some routine testing
to assess your current heart health. Your doctor can also work with you on an
activity program that you can continue safely and effectively.
Remember, it's never too late to incorporate fitness into your life -- no
matter your age.
In fact, a few years ago doctors from the Ann Arbor VA Hospital in Michigan
looked at a group of men and women 80 years old and older. They found
all yielded important health benefits -- including improving the body's ability
to use oxygen and reducing blood pressure -- by simply walking on a treadmill
or riding an exercise bike for 20 minutes twice a week.