Listen To Your Heart

February is National Heart Health Month. In this month’s newsletter we are going to share some stats on heart health, how to monitor your own heart rate, and explain how you and your Physical Therapist can improve your heart health.

Heart Health Stats– courtesy of The Heart Foundation (

  • Heart disease (which includes Heart Disease, Stroke and other Cardiovascular Diseases) is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing nearly 380,000 people annually.
  • In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. Every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event
  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined
  • 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease or stroke.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.

Monitoring Your Heart Rate

Normal Resting Heart Rate – Take your pulse for 15 seconds. To check your pulse over your carotid artery, place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. …

Multiply this number by 4 to calculate your beats per minute.

Maximum Heart Rate (during exercise)-  is to subtract your age from 220. For example, if you’re 45 years old, subtract 45 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 175. This is the maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise.

Improve Your Heart Health

There are plenty of easy steps to improving your overall heart health, from taking daily walks, increasing your exercise regime, to drinking water.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) lists that, “Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).”

The best tips to start improving your heart health today are:

  • Educating yourself on proper exercise procedures, and teach you how to self-monitor heart rate and exertion levels during exercise
  • Monitor your cardiac responses to exercise and activity by counting your heart rate or using one of the many health apps via your iPhone, Android or FitBit that can track not only your heart rate but your active calories and calories burned during exercise
  • Begin adopting independent exercise and activity into your daily routine- cardio, strength training, flexibility, resistance training and functional fitness training
  • Increase your exercise tolerance with the assistance of your physical therapist – ask your PT for exercises and at home routines to follow
  • Work with your physical therapist to create a tailored program of exercises including flexibility, strengthening and aerobic training

It is never too early to start thinking about this even now without having any cardiac problems. Preventive health planning will decrease your chances of having cardiac problems and increase your overall optimal health. Speak with your IPT therapist today to learn more.