Much is written about physical exercise and mostly in the context that we don´t get enough of it. Most of the world’s population is NOT meeting the recommendations from health authorities. On the other hand, there are people who do not get enough of it. In recent years there has been a large increase of competitions and events of extreme physical challenges such as ultra races, Norse-man, Iron Man and similar. For many, the result itself is not important, but having completed hours of activity that is being described as pure joy and where self-torture is used as self-realization.
Some of us are wondering whether all exercise is healthy, or if there is an upper threshold where exercise is no longer healthy? I have previously written about exercise addiction, but want in this post to highlight some scientific findings that looks more on the acute response of prolonged exhausting exercise / competition.
When you visit your general practitioner you can get your blood analyzed for cholesterol and triglycerides, to get an idea of your risk for cardiovascular disease. With additional information about BMI, smoking habits and blood pressure, this can be used to calculate your 10-year risk for cardiovascular disease. There are several risk prediction calculators available today that general practitioners can use thebefore they give advice and prescriptions to their patients. This risk calculators predicts the 10-year risk for dying form cardiovascular disease, and includes information on age, gender, smoking habits, systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol.
What is the best practice for cardiac rehabilitation really? The clinical practice in Europe differs enormously with regard to how we do it, when we do it and where we do it, despite numerous guidelines and several scientific papers regarding this topic. The Take Heart project aims to identify the best clinical practice in cardiac rehabilitation and thereby improve the quality and attendance rates among eligible patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).
In Europe, CHD accounts for an estimated 1.95 million deaths each year and is estimated to cost the EU economy € 60 billion a year. In secondary prevention, exercise training is associated with reduced morbidity and mortality in CHD. Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation is therefore strongly recommended to patients with CHD, and should be offered to all eligible patients. However, the reality is quite the opposite! It is estimated that less than 30 % of eligible patients attend the cardiac rehabilitation.
The Crown Prince of Norway tested his fitness using our Fitness Calculator during an event at Egertorget in Oslo at the World Activity Day in May – and as expected he was quite fit.
Physical fitness is key to a long, healthy life. Your body’s ability to transport and use oxygen during exercise is the most precise measure of overall cardiovascular fitness. The more oxygen your body can transport and utilize, the higher your maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and hence your cardiovascular fitness. Your fitness depends, among other things, on your age, gender and how often and how hard you train. You can increase your fitness though training!
Evolutionary pressures forced all living species to adapt to challenging and hostile environments. Giraffes developed long necks that enable them to reach more food on top of trees, birds can fly to escape dangers from ground level and humans became smart enough to domesticate their previous predators. These characteristics evolved over millions of years as a result of random DNA mutations, which somehow conferred survival advantage to an organism that would then pass this “good mutation” to the next generations. Although these DNA alterations (mutations) are necessary for the evolution of species, their random nature sometimes gives rise to unwanted characteristics. This is the case of genetic diseases that have haunted humanity for centuries.
Last week the United States Surgeon General, Vivek H. Murthy, held a lecture at the annual meeting of the American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM) about his Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities.
In his initiative to improve the health of the American people he stated that he aimed to walk the talk by implementing the best science for the benefit of the society. He wants to help people of all ages protect and improve their health and reduce risk of obesity and disease through regular physical activity and a healthy diet.
Many people believe that the frequency of our heart beats follows a fixed rhythm, but that is not the fact. Measurement of the electrical signals from the heart show that tiny differences occur between each heartbeat, also called heart rate variability (HRV). An average heart rate of 60 beat per minute does not mean that the interval between successive heartbeats would be exactly one second. In fact the heart beats may vary from 0.5 to 2.0 second. The interplay between the circulatory system organs and the autonomic nervous system is affected by complex biosignals (such as heart rate) which in turn contribute to a dynamic balance between the brain and the cardiovascular system. HRV is used as an indicator of the activity of the autonomic nervous system. A high HRV, which is evaluated to be associated with good cardiovascular health, indicates dominance of the parasympathetic response, the side of the autonomic nervous system that promotes relaxation, digestion, sleep, and recovery. The research literature has also established that individuals with a range of psychiatric disorders have reduced HRV, but more research in this field is needed.