Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Wednesday | February 20, 2013
Home : Health
Exercise with someone special
Kenneth Gardner, Fitness club

Regular exercise develops a healthier heart and a healthier heart will contribute immensely to a healthy, happy Valentine experience.

Our heart's unique muscle structure makes it naturally responsive to exercise. So, the ideal way to improve heart function is to exercise regularly. One of the most efficient methods of monitoring the effects of exercise on our health is to measure our heart rate, blood pressure and heart sounds.

Exercise improves our heart's blood supply, electrical stimulation, heart beat and prevents disruptions in our heart beat which could be too fast, too slow or irregular. Irregularities in heart function could be indicative of an imminent heart attack, heart failure or a stroke.

Exercise is an important modality in the diagnostic and treatment protocol of heart disease. Physical activities make the signs and symptoms of atypical heart functions such as restricted blood flow, blockages in blood vessels and electrical malfunction more apparent.

High blood pressure, electrical malfunction, irregular heart beat could damage the heart's pumping mechanism. This could result in poor circulation and a host of other health problems. Thus, regular exercise is ever so critical to our heart.

Exercising for two

Exercising together with someone we love could be an excellent addition to our Valentine's Day activities. It is the ideal way to use up some of the additional calories from Valentine's Day treats. So, try to add a workout for two to the romantic Valentine's Day plan. Exercising with our partner is an excellent way to spend quality time together.

We can do just about any aerobic activity with our partner; they are ideal for strengthening and developing our heart. However, we can also do the following activities to add some variety to our workout.

PARTNER SQUATS

Stand back to back, press shoulder blades together, knees shoulder width apart. Walk your feet out so that you are supporting each other with your upper bodies. Slowly bend your knees, lower your tailbones and squat as low as you can without your knees moving beyond your toes. Hold the squat position as long as you can. Press against each other and straighten your legs back to the standing position. Try to increase the time each trial.

HIGH-FIVE PUSH-UPS

Start on all fours facing your partner, placing hands so that your arms are shoulder width apart. Walk your feet back so they are directly behind you. Balancing on your knees or toes in a push up position lower your body to the floor. As you push up give your partner a diagonal high five. Alternate your hands each time you high five.

Dr Kenneth Gardner is an exercise physiologist at Holiday Hills Research Center; email: yourhealth@gleanerjm.com.


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