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Aug 31

How Fit Is Your Heart?

To answer the question about how fit is your heart you need to know that there is an important difference between what many of us think of as fitness-how long we can exercise before getting tired and out of breath-to the fitness level of our heart as measured during a stress test.

A high level of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), a measure of how your heart, lungs and circulatory system function during exercise, usually indicates a lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

You don't need to know your CRF numbers to be fit. You just need to know that you can climb three flights of stairs without a racing heart.

If you're not sure how fit your heart is talk to your doctor about a stress test. Sometimes, people are surprised. A patient who has CHD but exercises regularly may be able to run a mile easily, while someone who doesn't have CHD may get winded. It's not necessarily so then that if you can't exercise very long you must have heart disease. It may just be that you're out of shape.

In either case it seems to me that scheduling in daily exercise should be part of your daily To Do list. And remember to follow your doctor's orders when it comes to heart health. If that means losing weight and taking medications, so be it. That's not too much to ask for another 15 to 25 quality years.

To your successful aging

Ruthan Brodsky


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