Flex your heart muscle

By Mike Engling
PT, DPT, LAT, Johnson County Healthcare Center Rehab Department Manager

It’s true. Movement takes muscles, and to move better, faster, further you need to make muscles stronger.

The most important muscle to flex is your heart muscle. Many diseases are correlated to inactivity. Activity or movement can extend your life and lower your risk of disease.

Physical therapy is the study of movement, so let’s look at what we can do to improve health and quality of life with movement.

Tanya Connors, Johnson County Healthcare Center PT, DPT and ATC, is seen here running a 50K.

Running is a popular activity to improve overall health, body composition, and especially cardiorespiratory health.

In a study of more than 55,000 participants, subjects who ran were up to 50% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease. Even running 5 to 10 minutes a day at slow speeds was enough to give a substantial – 30% – benefit.

If running is out of the question, another study of approximately 49,000 people suggests that moderate walking for about an hour a day significantly reduces the risk for new onset of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease – even to the same level as running.

Running can be a difficult type of exercise to start. As a physical therapist, I hear all the time, “Well my knees hurt when I run” or “I haven’t run in years.” At Johnson County Healthcare Center Rehab, we have therapists who can help get you walking and running whether it be rehab to get you ready, improving current injury to allow activity or picking shoes and gear to get you started.

Click here to learn more about the services our rehab department offers.

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