My dad just had unexpected open heart double bypass surgery on Friday and is still in the hospital. He is recovering, with some good days and some bad, and his doctor, Dr. Michael Argenziano was absolutely wonderful to us. I’ve been in and out of the hospital for over a week now and while in the waiting rooms, the one thing I kept seeing was brochures about how exercise can help prevent heart disease.
As a fitness professional, the number one reason people tell me they want to work out is to lose weight and look good. I almost never hear that they want to have a healthy heart. And yet, we can’t live without a healthy heart. Heart disease is the nation’s #1 killer. And after this week of worry and stress about my dad, and finally relief that he made it through, I realize even more how important it is to stay physically active.
Lack of exercise, a poor diet and other bad habits all lead to heart disease. The American Heart Association recommendations for physical activity in adults is a good guideline of how much exercise is needed for overall cardiovascular health.
In my professional life, I meet many people who hate to exercise and are resistant about starting an exercise program. But as the AHA says, something is better than nothing. You don’t have to dive into a hardcore program. I always tell people, find something that you enjoy doing, whether it is dancing with your friends (or by yourself), biking, swimming, or just taking a walk with your family or dog. Park your car in the furthest spot in the lot and walk those extra steps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a class with a friend or family member. Take a walk on your lunch break. Run after your kids in the yard.
It sounds so simple, and yet people are still so resistant to doing any of it. But as we get older, that lack of physical activity starts to work against us until suddenly, we find ourselves in the hospital about to undergo major surgery in order to save our lives.
It’s our choice. Add some kind of physical activity into our lives and eat healthier so that we can dance at our daughter’s wedding. Take our grandchildren to the park. Run with our dog. Live an active and mobile life. Or keep leading a sedentary life with unhealthy eating habits and end up with our life cut short, or having to undergo open heart double bypass surgery while our family worries and stresses.
I know which choice I prefer.
We still have a long road ahead of us for my dad’s recuperation, and I am hoping he will be home soon to hold his beloved Pinot.
And his beloved Lokie.