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Heart Health Archive
Move of the month: Double knee torso rotation
A double knee torso rotation stretches the back, chest, hips, and outer thighs. It also strengthens and stabilizes the core muscles, which are vital for good form and function in many sports.
How positive psychology can help you cultivate better heart health
Optimism and other positive emotions may guard against serious heart-related events and death. Simple exercises such as expressing gratitude and performing acts of kindness can counter depression and improve well-being. These interventions may encourage people—including those with heart-related conditions such as heart attacks and heart failure—to exercise more and take their medications more consistently. Having a more positive outlook may help reinforce other positive behaviors, or what psychologists refer to as the "upward spiral." This momentum can help people start healthy habits like exercise, which then becomes self-reinforcing.
Loud traffic noise may raise blood pressure
Long-term exposure to traffic noise may boost the risk of high blood pressure. Such sounds as roaring engines, blaring horns, and wailing sirens can trigger stress and disrupt sleep, both of which may contribute to high blood pressure and other heart-related risks.
Home-based cardiac rehab may cut deaths by more than a third
A 2023 study found that a 12-week home-based cardiac rehab program may lower a person's risk of dying over the next few years. Cardiac rehab, a program designed to help people recover from heart-related problems, is traditionally done at a medical facility.
One in five people at risk of heart disease shuns statins
A 2023 study found that one in five people at high risk for heart disease chose not to take a recommended statin drug. After a doctor's recommendation to start a statin, women were more likely than men to decline the medication.
Taking fewer daily steps still offers protection from heart problems
People who take an average of 4,500 steps each day may have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart failure than those who take less than 2,000 steps per day.
Golf: A good walk made better?
Although golf is a low-to-moderate intensity exercise, the game can last up to four hours and players may walk up to six miles. A 2023 study found that walking a round of 18 holes may be slightly better for cardiovascular health than an hour of brisk walking or Nordic walking. Golf provides a sense of competition and camaraderie and can be played well into older age, unlike more strenuous sports such as basketball or soccer. Even if people are not physically able to walk the entire course, hitting the ball works the muscles of the core and arms, and the golf swing provides a balance challenge.
How to recognize and respond to a "warning" stroke
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) can cause a range of unsettling symptoms, including slurred speech or arm weakness. The symptoms appear suddenly but usually last less than five minutes, which is why TIAs are often ignored or missed. However, two of every five people with a suspected TIA who get an appropriate brain imaging test find out that they actually had a stroke. Recognizing the symptoms and seeing emergency care right away is vital. The mnemonic BE-FAST (which stands for balance, eyes, face, arms, speech, and time) was designed to help people identify the symptoms of a TIA or stroke and to act quickly.
All about your heart rate
Maximum heart rate refers to the upper limit of what a person's cardiovascular system can handle during exercise. It can be estimated by subtracting the person's age from 220. Target heart rates (which range from 64% to 93% of the maximum) can help people know if they are doing moderate or vigorous exercise. Physical activity guidelines recommend that people get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, or a combination of both, per week.
A device to prevent strokes in afib
The Watchman, a tiny, basket-like device placed in the heart's left atrial appendage, is designed to prevent blood clots traveling from the heart to the brain and causing stroke. People with atrial fibrillation who face a high risk of bleeding from anti-clotting drugs may be good candidates for the device.
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