Dancing and Running for Heart Health

February is the American Heart Association’s Heart Health Month, and there is an additional Go Red for Women push that specifically emphasizes women’s heart health. Our community participates in the Women’s Heart Health Day with a luncheon and a 5 K run. This year, the Line Dancing Class I participate in was invited to perform at the luncheon.

When a friend and I started going to the class we had no intention of ever performing! We exercise at the fitness room several days a week, and Line Dancing sounded like a fun way to exercise different muscles. It turned out not only to be good physical exercise, but good mental exercise as well.

The first time our teacher talked us into performing we were just doing one very easy dance. I don’t know what kind of theatrical bug bit us, but we enjoyed it so much that we’ve continued to perform with the group. Our class was invited to the Heart Luncheon because the organizers wanted to show attendees that exercise could be more than walking or running. We did two dances on the stage, then moved out into the audience and taught everyone the Boot Scootin’ Boogie.

My exercise partner had told me on the way to the luncheon that her Type O husband had lowered his cholesterol by 20 points just by cutting back on wheat. His cholesterol had been 300, and he cannot take cholesterol medication because of a bad reaction to it. He had not had any success lowering his cholesterol by cutting back on meat and eggs. This blood test has greatly encouraged him to cut back on wheat even more.

What did we have for lunch you might ask? Salad, vegetarian lasagna, garlic bread, and a dessert made of cake, chocolate pudding and fruit. This was not a heart healthy lunch for a Type O! I enjoyed my salad and was glad I had eaten a big breakfast.

The keynote speaker said one thing that I found particularly interesting. “Heart Attack” is a generic word that is used to cover a lot critical life threatening conditions. This doctor divided heart conditions into three categories.

  • Circulatory problems – These deal with plaque buildup in the arteries that feed the heart muscle. Plaque buildup may be treated by bypass surgery or balloon angioplasty.
  • Muscle problems – This is when the heart muscle itself is damaged and is not strong enough to pump adequate blood throughout the body. Sluggish blood can cause clots and congestive heart failure.
  • Electrical problems – Electrical impulses keep the heart pumping in a steady rhythm. If there is an electrical malfunction the heart may beat too slow, or too fast, or skip a beat or add an extra beat. Electrical problems are treated with pacemakers and drugs.

Any of the three can cause an acute life threatening problem which might be called a heart attack. But they are very different conditions with different treatments.

The speaker was a doctor who specializes in treating electrical heart problems, and she did not talk about prevention. However during the question & answer part, someone asked about a vegetarian diet. The doctor said that statistics showing Western cultures having more heart disease than Asian cultures couldn’t be denied, and she focused her answer on Western cultures eating more meat. I wanted to jump up and suggest it might be because Western cultures eat so much wheat while Asian cultures eat rice, but I kept quiet.

I ran in the 5K Race for your Heart today. My time was the second fastest since I became a “senior adult.”

Comments are closed.