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Heavy Breathing

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”

If you have been a regular at the gym, you realize that if you discontinue your weight lifting program, pretty quickly your body loses the great muscle you worked so hard for. “Use it or lose it” at work. What most people don’t realize is that the most important muscle in your body, you heart, behaves in a similar manner. Exercise it regularly and it becomes a more efficient healthier pump. That is why aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is so important. It is also why sedentary behavior is so dangerous. Your heart needs to be challenged on a regular basis to remain healthy. Aerobic exercise stimulates and improves the entire cardiovascular system- heart, lungs, and even the blood vessels in every nook and cranny of your body.

To reap the benefits of aerobic exercise it needs to be regular (3 days a week minimum-30 minute session). It must also be of enough intensity so that the heart is working moreso than it does in everyday life. To accomplish this, your heart must be beating faster-in your “target heart range”. To determine your optimal training range checkout the recommendations of the American Heart Association. A much easier way is to take the “talk test”. You should be exercising at a pace that has you a little out of breath but still capable of carrying on a conversation. If you are too comfortable, you probably are not pushing hard enough. If you are sucking wind and can’t talk, slow down!

The choice of exercise options are almost unlimited-from running, brisk walking, cycling and swimming to jumping rope, circuit weight training, playing tag or shooting hoops. Your heart basically can’t tell the difference. So pick one you like, and your body tolerates, and stick with it. Or better yet, mix it up with cross-training.

Just of word of caution. If you are out of shape, over 40, have not exercised in a while or have any medical problems, talk to your doctor before revving your engine. Also, after you are given the green light, build up slowly.


Get out of breath more frequently, and you’ll breathe easier the rest of your life.

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