You’re never too young to be heart smart
KEEPING your heart healthy at any age is easy if you know how.
In fact, you can be in the best shape of your life in your 30s, 40s or even 50s without too much strain or pain, says one of Australia's leading motivational and fitness trainers Mark McKeon.
"Even better if you start in your 20s," he says. "The cardiovascular benefits you develop then can stay with you for years."
Heart disease is the number one killer of Australians, according to the Heart Foundation. It recommends 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (like brisk walking) most days of the week and muscle-toning activities twice a week.
Another key recommendation is that every little bit helps. "Even 60 seconds walking up a flight of stairs or away from your desk will relax the muscles around your blood vessels to reduce blood pressure and lower heart rate," says McKeon.
Smartwatches like the Fitbit Versa can help you understand your fitness level and improve your Cardio Fitness Score over time.
In your 20s
McKeon recommends cardiovascular workouts of 40 to 50 minutes five times a week. Aim for a heart rate of 145 to 150 beats per minute for at least 20 minutes of each session.
The Fitbit Versa has more than 15 exercise modes, including run, bike or weights and will also track your heart rate while you do Zumba, play volleyball or get active any other way.
Don't forget at least one strength or resistance training session a week.
In your 30s
What you need - a minimum of 40 minutes of exercise three times a week, mixing cardiovascular and strength work. Good options: exercise circuits where you alternate between aerobics and weight training moves; jogging, tennis and boxing.
McKeon suggests you work out at a heart rate of 135 to 145 beats per minute for at least 20 minutes of each session.
Add some flexibility work, such as yoga, Pilates, or just stretching.
In your 40s
Try brisk walking, cycling or swimming - the Fitbit Versa is waterproof to 50m - at least three times a week for 40 minutes.
Aim to get your heart rate into the 125 to 135 beats a minute range for at least 20 minutes of your workout and remember to add stretching, and a weekly resistance session.
In your 50s plus
Keep going to keep going. Weight training and exercises like dips, lunges and push-ups are great.
Work out in the 120 beats per minute range for at least 20 minutes, three times a week, with workouts of 40 minutes and plenty of stretching, suggests McKeon.
Other heart health boosters
• Harvard researchers found the most optimistic women had a nearly 40 per cent lower risk of heart disease and stroke than the least optimistic.
• A Mediterranean diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit, legumes, fish and good fats like olive oil wins. A little lean meat and red wine is fine.
• Standing more will lower your risk of heart disease, says the prestigious Mayo Clinic.
You can get your very own Fitbit Versa Smartwatch by taking up this 12-month digital subscription offer. It's easy to subscribe, simply sign up online now at coffscoastadvocate.com.au/fitbit or phone 1300 361 604.
* Only $7.50 a week billed every four weeks on a 12-month contract for new digital subscribers (minimum annual cost $390). Allow 20 days for Fitbit Versa to arrive. Offer available while stocks last. Conditions apply.