Category Archives: heart rate

Exercise may reverse heart effects of middle-aged couch potatoes – Study

Eat less; move more; live longer. The mantra persists just as we do if we follow it. An American Heart Association study reports that exercise (moving more) can rejuvenate us even if we have lived a sedentary life in middle age.

Highlights:

Two years of exercise training during middle age may reduce or reverse the cardiac consequences of a sedentary lifestyle.

Two years of exercise training may be an effective lifestyle modification for rejuvenating aging hearts and reducing the risk of heart failure.

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Middle-aged couch potatoes may reduce or reverse the risk of heart failure associated with years of sitting if they participate in two years of regular aerobic exercise training, according to a new study in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Study participants who adhered to the aerobic exercise regimen had significant improvements in how their body used oxygen and had decreased cardiac stiffness after two years, both markers of a healthier heart. Aerobic exercises are sustained activities, such as walking, swimming, running, biking and others that strengthen the heart and other muscles and help the body use oxygen effectively.

“The key to a healthier heart in middle age is the right dose of exercise, at the right time in life,” said study author Benjamin D. Levine, M.D., lead author of the study and the founder and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, a joint program between Texas Health Resources and UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, Texas. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, American Heart Association, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, heart rate, sedentary lifestyle, successful aging

Heart function linked to brain’s memory center – Study

This is fascinating and seems to bolster my thought that exercising the body benefits the brain a great deal. The concept of use it or lose it is widely known and accepted regarding physical development. It seems it also applies to mental makeup.  As above, so below.

Research by a team of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) scientists suggests that older people whose hearts pump less blood have blood flow reductions in the temporal lobe regions of the brain, where Alzheimer’s pathology begins.

The brain, which accounts for only 2 percent of total body weight, typically receives 12 percent of blood flow from the heart — a level maintained by complex, automatic processes, which maintain consistent blood flow to the brain at all times.

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Angela Jefferson, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer’s Center, and colleagues investigated whether lower cardiac index (the amount of blood flowing out of the heart adjusted for body size) correlated with lower blood flow to the brain.

The purpose of the study was to better understand whether reductions in brain blood flow might explain clinical observations in prior research that have linked heart function to cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

“We currently know a lot about how to prevent and medically manage many forms of heart disease, but we do not yet know how to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease,” Jefferson said. Continue reading

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, Healthy brain, heart, heart health brain health, heart rate, Vanderbilt University

What is a Healthy Resting Heart Rate?

One of the most important measurements we can know about ourselves is our resting heart rate. Yet most people don’t know it. They can give you their cholesterol count (usually the total, not the breakdown of HDL and LDL see  post – How to Improve your cholesterol numbers), but unless the person has recently visited his doctor he will be stumped when it comes to his resting heart rate, or its relevance to his overall health..hwkb17_071

WebMD reported, “For most people, a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 90 beats a minute,” according to Edward F. Coyle, PhD. The professor of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the university’s Human Performance Laboratory, says. “Athletic training can lower that rate by 10 to 20 beats per minute.heart-rate-carotid

“Regular aerobic exercise makes your heart stronger and more efficient, meaning that your heart pumps more blood each time it contracts, needing fewer beats per minute to do its job.”

Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist puts the normal resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute. “Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats a minute.”

The upper end of the range is relevant. Gordon F. Tomaselli, MD, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, told WebMD, “A number of studies have shown that, even within the normal range, a high resting heart rate is associated with an increased risk for ischemic heart disease, stroke, and sudden cardiac death.”

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Filed under heart rate, resting heart rate, Uncategorized

Why A Heart Rate Monitor is One of My Favorite Health Measures

I like this insight into paying attention to one’s heart rate.

My Apple Watch has a heart rate monitor and I have used several in the past, particularly when I do stair climbing.

Tony

D.I.G.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been tracking and making healthcare based decisions off of a persons heart rate for centuries (actually, even longer than that based on a lot of accounts!).  This is because the rate, quality, and regularity of the heart beat is a direct marker of the state of your entire body…and since the heart rate is always present and easy to access, it’s a really handy thing to trend!

Nowadays, heart rate monitors are often used as a marker of activity and calorie consumption. And while they don’t give you information on the quality of your heart rate, I believe they can be used for much more than just losing some fat.

Additionally, compared to a lot of other health markers, heart rate monitors come in a variety of forms and most of them are relatively affordable. (Like anything having to do with preventable medicine, it’s important to…

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Filed under heart rate, heart rate monitor

What is a Pulse Oximeter from Costco?

Funny you should ask.

The pulse oximeter pictured here is a neat little gadget that Costco is selling. As you can see from the picture, it monitors your Heart Rate (pulse), Oxygen Level and your Blood Flow. In sum, very useful information provided in a matter of seconds with no penetration of your flesh. There is even a cool graph of your heart beat on the screen.350-588488-847__1 In this period of wearables, the Pulse Oximeter is reminiscent of the first cell phones. But, you can feel like a camp counselor and wear it around your neck using the attached lanyard.

Before I go into explanations and specifications, I want to disclose that I bought one of these and have been using it for a week now. Love it! It is particularly useful when I am stair climbing. I like to get a handle on how my heart rate accelerates on the climb and then nosedives when I walk around to bring it down.

The Costco listing: “The Quest Pulse Oximeter is designed to support individuals as they monitor their pulse rate and oxygen saturation. This lightweight portable device takes fast, non-invasive measurements at the fingertip. Ideal for monitoring heart rate and oxygen saturation during sports activities, while exercising or during air travel. “

Okay, what does it measure?
Pulse Rate Measurement (BPM) – Measures the number of heart beats per minute. A normal adult pulse rate while resting is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) – Oxygen saturation is a measure of how much oxygen the blood is carrying as a percentage of the maximum it could carry. Measuring saturated hemoglobin is a useful screening tool for determining basic respiratory function.
Perfusion Index (PI%) – Perfusion index is an indication of the pulse strength at the sensor site. The PI’s values range from 0.2% for very weak pulse to 20% for extremely strong pulse.

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Filed under Exercise, heart rate, heart rate monitor, oximeter, Weight, weight loss

What is a Healthy Resting Heart Rate?

One of the most important measurements we can know about ourselves is our resting heart rate. Yet most people don’t know it. They can give you their cholesterol count (usually the total, not the breakdown of HDL and LDL see previous post – How to Improve your cholesterol numbers), but unless the person has recently visited his doctor he will be stumped when it comes to his resting heart rate, or its relevance to his overall health..hwkb17_071

WebMD reported, “For most people, a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 90 beats a minute,” according to Edward F. Coyle, PhD. The professor of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the university’s Human Performance Laboratory, says. “Athletic training can lower that rate by 10 to 20 beats per minute.heart-rate-carotid

“Regular aerobic exercise makes your heart stronger and more efficient, meaning that your heart pumps more blood each time it contracts, needing fewer beats per minute to do its job.”

Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist puts the normal resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute. “Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats a minute.”

The upper end of the range is relevant. Gordon F. Tomaselli, MD, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, told WebMD, “A number of studies have shown that, even within the normal range, a high resting heart rate is associated with an increased risk for ischemic heart disease, stroke, and sudden cardiac death.”

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Filed under aging, heart, heart problems, heart rate

A Doctor Visit in Flu Season

Having written about flu season for the past few months, when I started getting head cold symptoms last week and got nervous. In addition, an arctic freeze struck Chicago which has kept me off my bike. I found that working out in the health club, I was feeling really wiped out from a light workout. I actually napped afterwards. That and the head cold symptoms were enough for me. I booked a doctor visit. Mr. Conservative wasn’t taking any chances. I had gotten my flu shot early, but didn’t want to take any chances.  As I recommended to readers, I had gotten my flu shot early, but didn’t want to take any chances. You can read further on How to Fight the Flu elsewhere in the blog.

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Here’s how bad the weather has been, “Chicago’s coldest blast of air in 2 years is easing—but slowly. By midnight Tuesday, the area moved into a 55th consecutive hour of sub-20-degree thermometer readings and 46 hours with wind chills below zero. Tuesday’s 11-degree high and 1-below morning low put the day into the record books as the city’s coldest of the past two years,” according to the blog of Tom Skilling, the awesome local meteorologist.

The walk to the doctor’s office over a mile was a bracing start to the day. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, flu season, flu shot, heart rate

New Year’s Resolutions, er, Revolutions

Getting through December in a four season climate like Chicago is a dicey experience for a guy who wants to ride his bike every day. You just don’t know what the weatherman will be serving up on any given day.

December usually has some of the most bizarre offerings, unfortunately. However, this year was one for the record books. No snowfall of an inch or more since March. This was the third most snow free season on record with 0.9 inch the lowest since 1939. The year 2012 was the warmest in Chicago’s 142 year observational record dating back to 1871.

Easily mistaken for Tony, this is an ad from J2 Studios. That' one hot set of wheels.

Easily mistaken for Tony, this hot-looking guy is from Shawn Jantzen’s J2 Studios. One hot set of wheels.

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I just finished adding up my bike riding for the year and it comes to, wait for it … 8,433 miles. I don’t know if you are impressed, but I am. This mellow December has been most helpful in my biking. Normally, we have snow and really difficult weather for riding at all, let alone virtually every day. This year, as you can see from the first paragraph – warmer and less snow. I bought a new car on February 25. I have driven it 4200 miles.

This cycling total is most gratifying to me because last year I rode 6,300 and thought I had begun to slow down due to my age. In 2010, the prior year, my total was 7,111 which was the most I had ever ridden. I was not surprised when I slid back the following year.

The 8,433 miles comes to a daily average – 366 days in 2012 – of 23.04 miles. A 23 mile ride lasts around two hours and burns about 1000 calories, thus expanding my gustatory horizons for the remainder of the day. It also works my heart and lungs and pumps up fresh oxygen to my brain creating new neurotransmitters.
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Filed under 2012 in review, aging, biking, calories, cardio exercise, cold weather, Exercise, happiness, heart, heart rate, men's health, seniors, Weight, winter

Bike Riding in Snow’s No Fun

Chicago has just gone 307 consecutive days without a one inch snowfall. That is the longest such spell in 54 years. And, might I add, most welcome to me as a bicycle rider. Because of this snow drought, I have been able to ride many more times in these waning days of December than I would normally. As a result, I will post my biggest total mileage for a  year in my life in just three more days – over 8000 miles.

Looking west on Chicago's Riverwalk

The view looking west on Chicago’s Riverwalk with skyline in the distance

As you can see from the photos, the snow looked kind of pretty falling on the Riverwalk. However, look closely at the second photo taken on the next morning. Those patches of gray and white are ice patches and diabolical for a bicyclist.

The view looking east on the following morning

Looking east on the following morning

A sheet of ice is very simple to navigate, you just get off the bike and walk it till you are past the ice. But, sporadic ice patches are a totally different story. When I ride, I try to keep my heart rate in the target zone. For a septuagenarian like myself that requires a speed of around 12 miles an hour. Doesn’t sound very fast when you imagine yourself in your car inching along at 12 mph. On a bike, though, you are traveling at about 17 feet per second. And you aren’t strapped in to a cushy seat. You have a helmet and you are flying through the air riding a pair of skinny wheels. As the guy who has fallen at that speed and broken bones, I can attest that it is fast enough to get into trouble.
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Filed under aging, biking, Exercise, heart rate, seniors, target zone, treadmills, Weight, winter

Smart Health Walking Fit Watch – Cool Gadget

Once again, I got a great deal on a cool product from Costco. This time it was via email. Costco is sending out a flyer every day with Christmas deals on it. This was on one of them last week.

Actually, one of the folks in my aerobics class inspired it. He has a heart rate monitor and I thought it was a nice idea to see how much of a load any workout put on my heart. Then the offer from Costco came, and I bit.

The watch comes in either white or black

The watch comes in either white or black

Although I am somewhat computer savvy, I don’t love messing with them. So, I had misgivings about buying a little watch. It advertises that besides telling time there is a step count, calorie burn, distance and, of course, the heart rate monitor. I did not look forward to punching in a lot of this button and that button the feed it my vital statistics. But, the listing said ‘NO SET-UP.’ Costco advertised it as $39.95, on special for $25. So I ordered it.

I have now owned it for two days and I like it a lot. The heart rate works very well. The watch has two contacts, the back of your wrist and a finger pad on the watch face. It takes only seconds to get a reading and so far they have been excellent. I had been using the iPhone monitor which requires taking your pulse for 15 seconds and multiplying by four. Slow and cumbersome, but no problem for biking. I couldn’t use it in an aerobics class.

The step count works well, too. Because it is in your watch it is based on arm swings. I like this because when I ride my bike, I can’t have a pedometer on me that measures steps because my legs are pedaling away. My arms aren’t swinging at all.

It says all day calorie burn, but since I use Lose It! I don’t need that nor use it, so I can’t comment on how it works. I know that the User Manual offers what they call ‘Advanced Set-Up’ which inputs your height, weight, age, etc. It was a little complicated, but not too bad.

I don’t need to paint with that fine a brush. I like that it gives me an estimate of how many steps I took during the day, keeps accurate time and allows me to monitor my heart rate at a moment’s notice. For 25 bucks that’s a win.

If you are considering starting a walking program, or would just like to get a reading on how far you walk on a given day, you might be able to use this. I feel strongly about the benefits of walking. Check out the walking tags at right for more details.

As an old fogie, I like analog watch faces, so I am not thrilled that this gives a digital readout of the time. But, that’s personal and may have no relevance to you.

As always your comments are invited.

Addendum:Posted December fifth. I have just come back from my aerobics class and used the heart rate monitor successfully several times. Fascinating to see how my heart rate varied through the class.

Tony

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Filed under heart rate, Smart Health Walking Fit Watch, walking