Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Health Factor

Today I had my final stress test to evaluate my improvement from cardiac rehab. To say that I was dreading this appointment is an understatement. Though they repeatedly told me the stress test is no a pass/fail test, I certainly walked out of my first test feeling not only like I failed, but failed MISERABLY. The doctor basically said "not considering your valve replacement, you are really out of shape." Um.. thanks. And seriously, how can you say, "not considering your valve replacement?!" Isn't that what the last 6 months of my life have revolved around?

I was really afraid that I was going to come out of this test and he was going to repeat his words about how out of shape I am. Thankfully, I was able to last 2 1/2 minutes longer than I did with my last test and the doctor was pleased with the improvement I've shown. The bad news came when he told me my goal heart rate from here on out should be between 120-130. Um... have you ever had a decent workout and kept your heart rate below 130? Yeah. I don't think so. I plan on calling my cardiologist tomorrow to see what she thinks a goal heart rate is.

Despite the bad news about the heart rate, the doctor did have some good things to say which really got me thinking. Honestly, up until this point in my life, my motivation is driven by 1) vanity 2) a beach vacation 3) vanity for a beach vacation. So, you can see that I have really pure motivations. As much as I hear about how to be heart healthy, I haven't really applied the information to my life. The doctor encouraged me to keep a journal of my activities - how long I worked out, what activity I did and what my heart rate was. It is important to keep track of this information as a way of keeping track of your overall health. If my only form of exercise is walking from the car to my office, then it will be a long time before I feel the effects of deteriorating health and get tired on that short walk. If I am active on a daily basis, then I will be more in tune with my body and overall health and will be able to catch when any major issues come up.

It was really eye opening for me to view it this way and to think about how much time could be wasted and damage done to my body by my lack of exercise. Whether you have a major health condition like I do or you think you are an average person, I would encourage you to rethink about your motivations for working out and how exercising for 30 minutes a day could not only improve your overall health, but also help you to pick up on some health issues before they become a major problem.


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