Heart disease is a leading cause of death and disability. This should not be a surprise – it has been at the top of the list for years. You know that taking care of your heart is important. That means doing things like eating right, avoiding smoking, and exercising regularly. While all of those things can be difficult, today we are going to focus on exercise.
HOW PHYSICAL THERAPY CAN HELP WITH YOUR HEART HEALTH Cardiovascular exercise is anything that makes you breathe harder and your heart pump faster. That could be walking, running, dancing, biking, swimming or hiking. It strengthens your heart and blood vessels. It can help control weight, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and prevent heart disease. If you are regularly going for a run or swimming laps, you do not need help from your physical therapist. But 3 out of 4 adults are not exercising regularly. If you would like to get started, your physical therapist may be just the person to help you. It is not uncommon to get injured, then never get back to your old routine. Your physical therapist can help you deal with the old injury and design a plan to get you safely back to regular activity. It is also not uncommon to try to be more active on your own, only to stir up pain somewhere like your back, hip, knee or shoulder. Your physical therapist can help with that too. They will figure out why you are having pain, help you correct it, and get you a plan to reach your goals. Physical therapists can also help you safely increase your activity levels after major medical issues like a heart attack, stroke, or even cancer. Recent research has shown improvements in cardiovascular fitness, fatigue levels and even pain in cancer patients who participate in a personalized physical fitness plan from a physical therapist. Whatever your barriers to physical activity are, your physical therapist can likely help you overcome them. As movement experts, physical therapists are trained to deal with a variety of conditions. They will help you work around whatever issues you have so you can safely elevate your heart rate and keep cardiovascular disease away.