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Yoga Views Ailing Hearts
Contributor / 2007-10-01 14:49:29
This week our resident yoga expert looks at the benefits yoga has on the heart.
The heart is a muscle. In order for it to be healthy it has to be strong. This goes for preventing things like heart disease and cardiac arrest, as well as for helping the heart to recuperate after any such incident. Low fitness is a primary heart disease factor. Even a few hours a week of exercise helps to strengthen the heart and reduces risk of cardio-vascular disease. That being said, any type of exercise ought to be planned out thoughtfully.
More Than Prevention
Anyone who knows someone who has had major heart surgery likely knows that a month and a half after surgery they can often be found doing cardio-vascular exercises at a specialised gym on the advice of their doctors. This step is considered necessary as the heart needs to be strengthened as soon as possible after surgery so that it will keep working. Yoga can be taken up as soon as six weeks after even the most serious of cardiac incidents. It is not practiced only to prevent such incidents.
Oddly enough, people who have had procedures such as cosmetic face lifts often have to wait much longer than six weeks in order to avoid swelling upon exertion of the area operated on.
Plan For Regular Exercise
Exercise works well to strengthen the heart if it is planned out and done regularly. Yoga is ideal for this as it teaches people to breathe properly and listen to their hearts. Half an hour at least once a day of continuous movement is good. Many people opt for a walk as part of their exercise. Bicycle rides, treadmills, and swimming can also be done every day. The idea is to achieve a challenge for the heart without overdoing it.
Work-outs as they are done at a gym are typically three times a week and during that time the heart rate can be monitored. The heart rate is how many times the heart beats per minute. This can be monitored at home with a little device or by finding the pulse and counting the beats. Fitness instructors and personal trainers, can work with each individual and advise them about how to work with their heart rate.
Don't Overdo It
Exercise is good for the heart, however sudden occasional bursts of tough physical activity on an irregular basis are not good and are actually stressful. Not that attending a dance once in a while is off, but on it's own, going dancing as an occasional one off won't be enough to maintain fitness and if done irregularly could be an activity where heart patients overdo it. Overdoing it isn't fun or relaxing, it only proves that you haven't been thinking thinks out.
Irregular exercise also increases the likelihood of sports injury because the muscles won't be used to it. It is important to concentrate on what you are doing rather than noticing how knackered you are starting to feel. If feeling really exhausted, it is the right decision to stop for a rest. Same goes for dizziness and nausea, stop and rest.
By Cynthia Drake