Seniors: Exercising Behaviors that Make Your Heart Healthy

Sep 25th, 2009 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

There are two parts to this article.  The first part, written by Dr. Sharon Shaw Elrod, deals with the physiology of heart health.  Her expertise, nothwithstanding having a father who is 94, qualify her to share insights for keeping heart healthy.

The second portion is by Dr. Jerry D. Elrod, who addresses heart health emotionally.  The two share hints and ideas for a balanced and serene life.

The heart is the ‘pump’ of the body that keeps blood moving throughout the system to keep it alive.  That’s the reason your annual physical exam focuses on your heart so thoroughly.  Your heart, it’s four chambers and the valves that separate the chambers all move in sync to keep blood flowing as it needs to throughout your body.  When plaque builds up in your arteries (from too much cholesterol) your heart has a more difficult time of pumping because the pipes (arteries & veins) are getting clogged; when your heart has to work harder, it has a greater potential of becoming damaged.  Damaged hearts mean compromised lives.

SCJ often writes about the importance of a healthy diet in a senior’s life.  The tie between diet and health is facilitated by exercise.  Exercise, under the supervision of your primary care physician, is a critical component of keeping your heart healthy.  One important result of exercise is helping to break down plaque in your pipes and prevent clogging.  Exercise is well documented in its contribution to lowering cholesterol.

Physical exercise is not alone the primary or exclusive factor for keeping your heart healthy.  Maintaining a healthy relationship with your spouse and other significant persons in your life is as primary and critical as exercise and physical attention to your heart’s needs.  The point here is that a person who is happy is most likely to have a healthy heart.  Think about how good it feels to enjoy and share in the interaction with friends and family.  That is heart exercise.

The critical piece for sustaining a healthy heart is understanding the need and frequency for giving instead of receiving.  When you are identified as generous, gracious, thoughtful, considerate your heart is exercising its finest qualities.  To be the giver is to be the one who demonstrates healthy emotional living.  When your heart is in tune with your spirit and your body, you have achieved balance.

One can suppose that it is possible to achieve health with one dimension of heart health, while overlooking the others. That is a risk one can choose to take.  However, as in the classic “Scrooge,” it is clear that happiness and balance is not realized until physical  wealth  has been combined with the charity of the heart.      

There are four chambers in the heart, as noted above.  In which chamber, charity can be found which is the root of love, no  specialist has been able yet to determine.  It is clear, however, that people who choose to exercise that portion of the heart are healthier, happier, more pleasant in associations with others, and at last aware of the  working unity of the whole.

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