Maintaining Muscle

Your strength is your independence.

So often people will do some form of aerobic exercise, walking, biking, jogging etc., but will neglect muscle strengthening. Getting a couple of sets of dumbbells at home, some theraband, or doing exercises such as wall slides, push ups against a wall, step ups, yoga are all great ways to work on improving strength. When people become frail it is often due to severe muscle atrophy or wasting. You can build and improve strength at any age. The key is to begin light and continue to push yourself to do a little more. Start with soup cans if needed, to make your own leg weights three rolls of pennies equals one pound, put them in a sock and tie it around the ankle, do leg extensions, leg lifts to build leg strength.

 A key for heart patients with muscle building exercises is to EXHALE ON EXERTION.

Many will find they hold their breath or inhale when lifting a weight. It is the opposite, when lifting the weight blow out, this helps to keep the blood pressure from elevating dangerously high, and placing increased forces on the artery walls. You will find if you focus on the breathing technique you are able to lift more weights. It is crucial to maintain muscle mass to maintain independence, to be able to do activities of daily living such as carrying in groceries, taking out trash, moving furniture, lifting boxes, getting up off the floor etc.

Yoga an inspiring video and story

My current free version of  WordPress does not allow me to post a video therefore I would encourage anyone who thinks they cannot possibly do yoga due to their physical limitations to view this video. Simply cut and paste the link below in  your browser. It brought me to tears to see the improvement in this man. I have witness many similar transformations while working in cardiac rehabilitation, but never one as powerful as this. Yoga is an activity my entire family enjoys. I love watching my teens work together through a yoga DVD. They key is to never give up, no matter how long your condition has lasted.

Yoga is a form of exercise that allows you to build strength, flexibility and develop specific breathing patterns that are beneficial with activity. For heart patients it is essential that you start lightbreath easy and only take the pose to where you are comfortable. Avoid straining the muscles. If you had open heart surgery with a standard sternal incision you will want to wait 10-12 weeks until you sternum is well knit together. Avoid any postures that cause a click or shift in the sternum. 

Yoga poses for heart health

There are several poses that you can use in order to increase the health of your heart, and these poses are designed to help your blood to circulate properly and strengthen the heart muscle. The warrior pose and the triangle pose are designed to promote cardiovascular exercise, and prompt you to breathe strategically and adequately. This helps you to increase your stamina, which gives you more energy to complete your daily activities and allow your heart to pump blood through the body quicker. This will help the body to replenish itself quicker, and can even help you to sleep better. The tree pose, the mountain pose, and the lotus pose not only work to strengthen the heart, but can be used to increase flexibility, which can prevent muscle cramping in the future.In addition to poses like the mountain pose and the tree pose to help manage and prevent heart disease, doctors have also recommended a healthy diet. Yoga can relieve stress and promote flexibility. The actual improvement of the heart has been proven by many doctors, like Satish Sivasankaran. They have done a study of the benefits of yoga on the heart, and have found that many individuals who practice yoga on a regular basis have had regulated heart beat and circulation. Individuals who may have suffered heart attacks and strokes were able to recover faster by participating in yoga.

How Does Yoga Help In Combating This Disease?

A study, published in Journal of The Association of Physicians of India (JAPI), establishes the reversibility of heart disease through yoga. Study was on angiographic ally proven CAD patients, of whom 71 formed the study group and 42 the control group. And the results proved that the serum total cholesterol levels had reduced by 23.3%, disease had regressed in 43.7% and progression was arrested in another 46.5% of the patients. Some marked improvements were noticed in anxiety levels of patients. Controlled yoga combining calming and stimulating measures resulted in reduced serum cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride levels.