Health & Injuries

Run for Your Heart

by On Aug 6, 2012
Run for Your Heart

John laughed with pure exhilaration as he ran down the path. His heart beat in time to the striding of his shoes on the ground. He had been running for about 20 minutes. His shirt was soaked, his muscles were aching, and he felt great. He never felt so alive.

Not like John? Might be worthwhile to try following in his footsteps. The beating of his heart during each run not only makes him feel alive, it keeps him alive. All muscles grow stronger with exercise, and the heart is no exception. As the most important muscle in your body, a strong heart contributes to a healthy life.

How Running Helps the Heart

Running is one of the best ways to exercise the heart. As you run, the muscles in the legs work harder, requiring more oxygen. This need is fulfilled by the heart, which pumps faster to distribute more oxygen rich blood to these muscles. Although it sounds counter-intuitive that tiring the heart out should be good for it, it’s true. The heart gets strengthened on such workouts.

Run for Your Heart

Here are some cardiovascular benefits of running:

  • Improves blood circulation
  • Reduced risk of heart attack
  • Improved survival rates in event of an heart attack
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases elasticity of arteries (blood vessels)
  • Relieves stress

But why choose running over other sports? This is not to say that swimming, cycling, tennis, badminton and the rest are not good for you. They are. But if you are not exercising regularly, here’s why you should give running a try.

Also read:  Sure, I’m Crazy—But Running Keeps Me Sane!

It Works

A study done by the Stanford University School of Medicine – involving 538 runners and 423 healthy non-runners above the age of 50 – from 1984 to 2005 concluded that each year, runners found it easier to do everyday things, from shampooing hair to cutting meat. Most significantly, by the end of the study, 85 per cent of the runners were still alive while only 66 per cent of the non-runners remained.

It is Easy and Cheap

No need to spend a bundle on fancy equipment. All you need is a good pair of running shoes. No need to hire that expensive coach either. After all, everyone knows how to put one foot in front of the other. It’s like walking, only faster. Of course, if you are serious about getting into the competitive arena, then it’s a different story.

Run for Your Heart

What are you waiting for?

Get off the couch and put on your running shoes. Join John and countless others in the running community who have made running a part of their lives. It is not as difficult as you imagine. All you need to do is take that first step. And then another, and another. Choose for your heart. Choose to start running. Choose life.

Dr. Dinesh Nair is a Senior Consultant Cardiologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. His subspecialty within Cardiology is in Interventional Cardiology where he actively practises newer, minimally invasive and complex treatment modalities. These include, complex angioplasty using the radial artery (wrist) approach, as opposed to the femoral (thigh) artery, allowing earlier mobility and discharge of the patient, and transcatheter aortic valve replacement, where the aortic valve is replaced without open heart surgery via an approach from the femoral (thigh) artery.

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