What if just taking a few simple steps each day could give you the power to defeat America’s #1 killer? Read on because Dr. Herfindahl’s latest newsletter gives you the tools: 

February is American Heart Month, which is crucial because the CDC still reports heart disease as America’s #1 killer. During this season of love, show your heart some love by starting new habits that improve your heart health—and encourage those you love to join you! In addition to eating healthy, getting better sleep at night, avoiding tobacco smoke in any form whatsoever, getting regular chiropractic adjustments and keeping your stress levels at bay, there’s one thing we really want to focus on today: increasing your activity level! 

Here are two ways you can boost your activity level starting now: 

  • Add a brisk 30-minute walk to your daily routine. By brisk we mean you’re pumping your arms, going at a good clip, and may get a bit sweaty. This simple daily routine can lower hypertension, regulate blood sugar, lower bad cholesterol, and even more great things for your heart and mental health.
  • Don’t sit for so long—this can be a challenge if you are a desk jockey. But new research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine should make you jump out of your seat. It shows that even if you exercise regularly (before or after several hours on your derrière) those long hours sitting are hazardous to your heart! So, migrate to a standing desk, treadmill desk, or at least make sure you get up and do some stretching, jumping, marching for 5 minutes after any 30-minute period of time spent sitting. The research showed that the healthiest adults were those who spent 30 minutes or less sitting each day! 

In fact, Dr. Herfindahl finds that a lot of people who work desk jobs struggle with a host of health problems in addition to heart health: neck pain, back pain, headaches and all of these things are aggravated by too much sitting and poor posture. In addition to correcting these problems, several studies have found that chiropractic care can significantly lower blood pressure for patients to the point where they have been able to stop taking their hypertension medications. More on that later!

The point is, if you want to get serious about heart health, start walking or doing some other type of heart-healthy exercise on a near-daily basis. There are many heart-healthy exercises you can try: Nordic walking, water aerobics, Pilates, yoga, swimming, biking and dancing are all great options. Just be sure to choose an activity you enjoy that you can do most days of the week.

But be careful—not all exercises are appropriate for all people. Long-distance running may not be the best option for those who get winded just taking a flight of stairs. Talk with Dr. Herfindahl about what exercises may be best to help improve from your current state of health.

What is My Target Heart Rate?

Speaking of your current state of health, try to stay within your target heart rate range during exercise for best heart-health results. If you’re new to exercise, stay at the lower end and work your way up gradually to the higher end of the range. You will periodically need to recalculate this range as your fitness improves and you have more birthdays. Wearable technology like your Fitbit or Apple Watch can track your heart rate easily. There are two ways to figure out your personal target heart rate:

Karvonen Heart-Rate Calculation

There are other ways to calculate your target heart rate but Dr. Herfindahl recommends the Karvonen Formula watching this video to learn about the Karvonen heart rate calculation and how to use it.

What you will need are the following:

  1. Maximum heart rate (MHR), this is found by subtract your age from 220. 
  2. Resting heart rate (RHR). The best way of finding this is measure your pulse when you wake up in the morning record the number of beats of your heart rate in a minute. A second method is too lie down for 30 minutes not talking and then take your pulse.
  3. Target intensity in this example we will use 60% as the target intensity or 0.6

The Formula: (MHR – RHR) x 0.6 + RHR

Example: A 40 year old with a resting heart rate of 60 and needs to find their heart rate intensity at 60%
The MHR is then 220-40 =180
The Formula (180-60) x 0.6 + 60 = 132 bpm
This individual target heart rate at 60% intensity is 132 bpm

Generally speaking, your age is a big factor in what your target heart rate zone should be, and the American Heart Association has a helpful age-heart rate chart to give you some additional clues.

Take a look your numbers and to talk with Dr. Herfindahl about your individual heart health needs during your next chiropractic care visit. Speaking of which…

Chiropractic Care vs. High Blood Pressure

Regular chiropractic adjustments are doing a lot more than just relieve back pain according to a host of studies. Chiropractic care has also been shown to lower high blood pressure and improve heart health! 

A study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension tracked patients diagnosed with Stage 1 hypertension who were not yet taking medications. The study group received a real cervical chiropractic adjustment that corrected a misaligned atlas vertebra (the top vertebra at the base of the skull). The control group received a sham procedure. The study’s lead doctor, George Bakris MD., director of the Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago, was surprised by the marked improvement in hypertension for patients in the study group. The patients in the control group who received the sham procedure did not experience the same improvement. 

In addition to adjusting the atlas vertebra and neighboring neck vertebrae (a treatment with which Dr. Herfindahl has particular expertise), a separate study published by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics determined that upper back (thoracic) vertebral adjustments also provided significant improvements in lowering blood pressure over the sham treatment provided to the control group. 

Dr. Herfindahl has often had patients come to him with neck pain, whiplash, headaches and migraines for treatment who then later reported a lowering of their hypertension levels as a “welcome side effect” along with pain relief for the complaints they originally presented. Many of these patients were later directed by their doctors to lower or even cease taking blood pressure medicine because it was no longer needed. 

So this February, take your heart health in your own hands: get moving, pay attention to your heart rate and schedule an appointment with Dr. Herfindahl in San Diego today at (619) 295-3885.

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