Pump It To Keep You Alive
This week’s blog post is coming to you guys courtesy of some controversy.
I haven't done it all year so far and there is no time like the present to start. The controversy that I am going to start is going to last up until next week when I scrutinize a very popular misconception in the fitness industry. Take that and combine the fact that we are discussing the heart this month and I hope that you guys have found out that we are talking about exercising the heart (most people call it cardio but more on that next week).
For now, we are going to go through some of the more popular fitness tests that most trainers put their people through and I will try to explain how, exactly you can train your ticker for a longer life.
As I had stated multiple times in the past, your heart is a muscle that pumps blood to and fro to be cleaned and distributed to the rest of your body. This muscle kind of works backwards from the rest of the skeletal muscles as the stronger it gets the less it needs to work as the pump action it creates becomes more and more efficient. Whereas, your biceps, for example, needs more load and work to function better. On the contrary, if the heart stops, then you are going to have a very bad day. You risk the chance of minor to major brain damage, slurred speech, constant tingling in your extremities, paralysis, and if you're really unlucky death. So, you can see why this is the most important muscle that we have.
Now you guys must be wondering why I am calling the heart a muscle instead of an organ. Well because it is. It is an organ that is made from muscle so when someone says it is an organ they are correct however, it is composed of muscle fiber tissues.
So enough of the anatomy lesson, we have had quite enough of it over the last couple of weeks, and on with the purpose of this post. How to exercise the heart.
Your heart is a very interesting organ, as I said just a minute ago, it is comprised of muscle fibers and pumps blood. This pumping is done by the parasympathetic nervous system (meaning without us thinking about it). So, to come up with actual, physical exercises that "works out" the heart is impossible because we just cannot physically control the contractions on a conscience level. What we can do is make sure that we are doing exercises that are vigorous enough to keep our heart nice and strong.
Let me just back track here a bit to give you an understanding on the modern "fitness assessment" (I use that term loosely). Most fitness studios and trainers out there conduct their assessments of new and prospective clients with the intensions of giving the prospect answers they already have: They are out of shape and need to get back in shape in some make-believe timeline that is completely unrealistic. The prospect signs up for some insane amount of money and 2 months after the prospect is now a couple thousand dollars and no change in their bodies. The trainers answer: "It could be that your body composition has changed." It is possible but 9 times out 10 this is not the case. All of this could have been avoided with a proper assessment and application of a proper program design.
So, what are these assessments? And why are they so bad? Well to answer the first question, these assessments are mostly endurance style exercises that should be fit more for the performance athlete not the desk jockey that is somewhat over weight who that if they continue this form of workout would surely keel over in a seizer. So why? Why would these professional fitness trainers that work in these reputable fitness centers give the general public a workout that Milos Raonic, or Sidney Crosby do to judge whether or not they are game ready? Well that is simple and you are really not going to want to hear this, but it all has to do with sales, yes, they are interested in your health to a point, but if they (the trainer) can make you feel that you are out of shape, it is easier to make the actual sale on your health and wellness. I know no one wants to admit it but that is the truth.
What I am going to do next is tell you guys three simple tips so that you can get that ticker pounding out of your chest:
Tip #1: Workout on a daily basis. Just get used to getting into the gym, or going out for a walk, or going out on a bike ride, row boat, or whatever you like to do. But do something that you enjoy that will get you out of the house and get you into a light sweat.
Tip #2: Use resistance training at least twice a week. It is a great benefit to you and your heart if you can hit the weights at least twice week as this has an invert effect on your heart and can help you fight off certain heart diseases.
Tip #3: Do some form of "cardio" at least twice a week. Now I use this term very loosely and I highly recommend that you start off with walking than all out running. And only do what you enjoy to do if you enjoy running, get on the treadmill, if you enjoy cross country skiing, get on the elliptical. If your heart lies in rowing, get on the rower.
And just to sum it here before it gets too long winded. I really hope that this post has cleared up on some of the fog surrounding this very controversial subject and next week I am going to bust a very old myth that is still going around in the fitness industry.