Heart disease has haunted generations of Robin Drummond's family. "I have a
family history of
heart disease on both sides," says the 55-year-old African-American and
resident of Hammond, La. "I've had uncles, aunts, and grandparents who've died
heart attacks and heart disease, and two of my mother's brothers died four
months apart. One had a heart attack in church, and four months later, one had
a heart attack in the post office."
When Drummond's father succumbed to heart disease...
What warning signs should I watch out for while exercising?
Types of Exercise
Your workout plan will generally include these two main kinds:
Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise. This is the type that benefits your heart most. Examples include walking, jogging, jumping rope, bicycling, skiing, skating, rowing, and aerobics or cardio classes. These strengthen your heart and lungs. Over time, aerobic exercise can help your blood pressure and improve your breathing, and then your heart won't have to work as hard during exercise.
Strength training. These exercises tone and build up your muscles. You may use hand weights, weight machines at a gym, or your own body weight. Typically, you do several sets of each exercise, and then let those muscles rest a day or two between sessions.
Stretching also helps. Do this gently, after you're done with your workout. Never stretch so far that it hurts, and don't stretch until you've warmed up.
You may want to work with a certified personal trainer, ideally one who has helped people who have heart disease, at least at first.