Responsibilities evolve as we age. The time demands of a man entering his 20s are typically much different from those of a man entering his 30s, when he is often juggling a family and a career. Our health responsibilities also change with age, and men entering their 30s need to care for themselves, especially their heart, differently than they did before.
The heart, like any other muscle, loses strength through the years. Though athletic prowess and stamina can peak for men at about age 31 or 32, in the next five years, aerobic capacity typically declines. While you may not feel any change, your body's ability to extract oxygen from your blood decreases, your heart pumps less blood per beat, cholesterol and blood pressure generally rise and fatty deposits collect on artery walls.
But diminishing heart health doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion. Focus on strengthening your heart muscle as you age by carrying out the following actions.
If you smoke, quit. One of the most important things men can do for their hearts is to avoid taking up smoking, and if they're already smokers, to quit. Many studies have proven that smoking cigarettes is a major cause of coronary heart disease, and that it increases blood pressure and blood clotting.
Practice interval training. Interval training, which encompasses exercises that require you to alternate speeds or levels of effort, can help you maintain your heart's aerobic capacity and stamina, which usually begin to fade for men after 35. Make sure you reach 80 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate, followed by a brief recovery period, and then repeat.
Consider your family history. Check with your parents and grandparents to see if heart disease or diabetes run in your family. Follow up with your healthcare provider about your findings and determine an appropriate game plan.
Use preventive measures. Schedule regular visits with your healthcare provider. Ask for a lipid panel, which can identify your risk for cardiovascular disease and help you pinpoint any heart issues early on. You can also request screenings to check your cholesterol levels, risk for hypertension, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and diabetes risk. Don't forget to conduct monthly self-examinations for testicular cancer, too. Finally, make sure you always report symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness and fatigue.
Learn to manage your stress. Stress takes a toll on your heart. Practice deep breathing, take up a hobby, squeeze in a workout or spend time outdoors to relieve your stress and anxiety — these will lessen the burden on your heart.
It's possible to begin a heart-healthy lifestyle no matter your age, whether you’re staring 30 in the face or have already sailed past that milestone. If you'd like more information on cardiovascular health, visit the Goshen Heart & Vascular Center.
Posted: 11/07/2016 by
Filed under: Heart and Vascular