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Fighting fit.

Byline: By David Ashdown

Healthy Heart and Lungs

For a long time now I have been trying to encourage you guys to take up resistance training to work on things like your posture and metabolism. So for this week and next I'd like to talk about the importance of a healthy heart and lungs; the engine and petrol tank of the body. Our heart and lungs are referred to as the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and they allow our muscles to function by supplying the oxygen necessary to generate energy. What many people do not realise is that the heart is a muscle and needs to be exercised just like all other muscles, in doing so it will become stronger allowing you to become fitter and hopefully live longer.

A healthy heart:

When your heart beats it is transporting oxygenated blood around the body, this is what keeps you alive. A weak heart will have to pump faster and harder simply to keep things ticking over, and a poor diet/lack of exercise will encourage arteries to become clogged with fatty deposits meaning even less blood is transported (demanding the heart to work harder again). All of this stress is not good for the body and by doing just a little exercise each week we are giving our heart an opportunity to work out and get stronger.

This brings me to the subject of heart rates or BPM (beats per minute), essentially the higher the heart rate the harder the heart has to work (and the more tired you will become). To get your approximate maximum heart rate subtract your age from 220 (ie 220-25 gives me a rough maximum of 195bpm), then to find your approximate resting heart rate measure your pulse for 15 seconds when you wake in the morning and multiply it by 4. Do this BEFORE sinking five coffeesa Once you have these two markers you can begin to understand the levels that your heart is working at during activity.

The general recommendation for mild-to-moderate exercise is around 60-80% of your maximum, one thing I will say is that the maximum heart rate provided by this formula is very loosely accurate and a few beats either side is no real concern. Personally, I prefer measuring someone's exertion and stress levels by seeing whether they can maintain a conversation during exercise; a heart that is struggling for oxygen will not waste its breath on talking. Many gyms have heart measuring belts that will work with exercise machines or you can purchase a watch for use at home or outdoors.

That's it for this week, next time we'll look at how this applies to your lungs and how you can make subtle changes to your daily routine to build a stronger engine to power your body.

For more advice on how to get motivated and stay motivated please contact David Ashdown or any of the team at Greens Health and Fitness, Gosforth on (0191) 213 0070.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 11, 2005
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