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Your heart and exercise

Your heart and exercise
This ‘Your heart and exercise’ article isn’t designed to frighten you, however as a website dedicated to the older trainer, I feel it is important to ensure that you are informed about both the positives and potential negatives of working out at an inappropriate intensity for your level of fitness.

In general as you age your hearts cardiac output decreases and it also becomes less efficient. You should be aware that if you are an older trainer, obese/overweight, have cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, are diabetic or smoke, that you should seek medical advice before starting any exercise program and take note of the following article.

We are all living longer, although this is starting to come full circle due to obesity. However many of us also live sedentary lifestyles with very little physical activity to keep us healthy as we age.

The potential negatives of inappropriate working out for the heart

High intensity workouts/sports and/or lifting heavy objects can be considered high risk activities for some individuals, especially if you are in a predisposition for a heart attack. Although rare, heart attacks from working out do occur. Lightheadedness and fainting can occur due to a sudden drop in blood pressure, which often is a precursor to a possible heart attack. Other symptoms can include chest pain, irregular heart beat and a shortness of breath. Those that are not following a good nutrition plan that helps reduce the build up of fatty deposits and therefore coronary artery disease are at high risk when working out at high intensity levels also.

For those at potential risk, take the advice of your medical professional. If cleared to workout seek a personal trainer and/or make sure to monitor your blood pressure and general health. Start off with looking at your current lifestyle and diet. Workouts should be of low intensity to begin with and should only be increased in-line with your fitness level as you progress. Depending on your current situation, you will need to know what activities would be best to do, how often and how long you should do the activity and how to monitor your heart rate and blood pressure and recognise any warning signs of a potential issue.

The positives of working out for the heart

Working out strengthens your heart and therefore increases your cardiac output and makes it more efficient. Exercise can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and improve our daily lives. It has the potential to help control diabetes, muscle wastage, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, change body composition, improve your mood and well being.


Seek advice before attempting a workout program if in doubt about your current condition. Start slow and with low intensity. Those that are not fit can benefit from working out and it is never too late to reap those benefits of which there are many.

Please see the nutrition section, exercise section, blood pressure and lightheadedness and fainting articles.