We at the Boone Heart Institute are always supportive of attempts to empower individuals to take control of their own health. When we encountered the new Drive For Five initiative for Men’s Health, we were very excited. Drive For Five aligns very closely with the Boone Heart philosophy of education, early detection, and aggressive prevention.
We are excited about the possibilities of this program, and encourage our patients to visit www.driveforfive.com to learn more!
In our second entry in this series, Dr. Boone discusses safe training, with a particular focus on intensity. When entering into an exercise program, we all need to be conscious of our intensity level relative to our fitness level. A daily exercise routine that gradually builds toward your goal is the best way to safely train your body for competition.
The opposite of this safe approach would be to exercise on an irregular basis, but to push yourself to maximum intensity. This can be dangerous, especially to older individuals, as maximum exertion can cause unsafe stress on your cardiovascular, respiratory, and other systems. The best exercise occurs at a 7 or 8 out of 10 on the intensity scale.
As race day approaches, make sure you have a thorough evaluation of your overall health as you push yourself to better your times.
For many years now, it has been theorized that common forms of heart disease such as atherosclerosis were a modern affliction due to diets and lifestyles. According to a new study out of San Francisco, however, would suggest otherwise.
The study, published in The Lancet, investigated the arteries of multiple mummified bodies from around the world, including Egypt, Peru and even the southwestern United States. The results found that 137 of the mummies studied showed serious signs of arterial calcification, which signified the presence of atherosclerosis, most of whom were more than 4,000 years old. Signs of the disease were even discovered in the famous “Ice Man,” a famous 5,300 year-old mummy discovered in the alps in 1991.
It has long been believed that the diets and lifestyles in these regions during those periods were far too healthy for heart disease to be a health factor. Because of this, while diet and exercise still play a major role, researchers believe that genetics likely have a more significant impact in the presence of the disease than originally thought. That, or there is a significant cause for atherosclerosis that experts are just missing all together. Either way, it would seem that diet alone is not enough to fight off the disease. A combination of healthy diet and exercise is still your best bet in staving off the disease. They also believe that if trends continue as they have over the past 20 years, heart disease may be a thing of the past sooner than we might think thanks to evolutionary changes. So keep living that healthy lifestyle. Not just for you, but for the good of the species!
Jeffrey L. Boone, M.D., is an internationally recognized expert on the effects of physical and mental stress on the heart. He was selected as one of the 160 Top Doctors in America by Men’s Health Magazine, and listed as one of the 17 Top Cardiovascular Doctors in America for Men. The Bolder Boulder has asked Dr. Boone to present his perspective and expertise on exercise, training, and cardiovascular health in the weeks leading up to race day.
Tune in every Friday to hear Dr. Boone’s take on such subjects as:
Toning Your Most Important Muscle One Beat At A Time
Outrunning Your Genetic Risks
Fighting Dementia Through Lifelong Exercise
The Dangers of the Extreme Exerciser
The Age of Exposure: Radiation, Altitude, and Overtraining
Good news from our friends in Spain. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that those at high risk of heart attack or stroke can reduce their chances of an episode by upwards of 30% simply by adopting the Mediterranean diet. The findings were based on the first major clinical trial to measure diet’s effect on heart risk. The Mediterranean diet was once thought by some experts as actually being bad for your heart, as it is rich in olive oil and nuts. The results of the study were so impressive and clear however, that researchers were able to end the study early.
The study out of the University of Barcelona followed 7,447 people in Spain who were overweight, had diabetes, were smokers or had other risk factors for heart disease. These subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group was given a low-fat diet and counseling for sticking to that diet. The other two were given the Mediterranean diet and counseling. One of the Mediterranean diet groups was instructed to use 4 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil in their diet each day. The other group was instructed to eat one ounce of a prepared mix of walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds each day. Both groups were also instructed to consume at least three servings of fruits and two servings of vegetables each day. Also, the two groups were instructed to eat at least three servings of fish and three servings of legumes per week. Lastly, if the participants in these groups were accustomed to drinking, they were instructed to consume at least seven glasses of wine with meals each week. All participants were instructed to limit their intake of dairy products and processed meats during the study.
The study found quickly that it was far easier for those in the Mediterranean groups to stick to their diets than those in the low-fat diet group. The real results came very quickly, and even surprised the researchers.
They found that those in either of the Mediterranean groups showed a drastic decrease in their risk of cardiovascular disease in a relatively short period of time. After only five years in the study, they demonstrated an average of a 30% decrease in risk factors, simply by changing their diet. It should also be noted that most of those in the study did not significantly lose much weight or decrease their body mass index.
More research is needed to see the benefits of the Mediterranean diet in those at low-risk of heart disease, but the researchers are confident the results will still be quite positive. I don’t know about you, but I could suddenly go for some Mediterranean food.