Have you ever had an old concept strike you as if was once again new? This happened to me the other day when I was reading the Mayo Clinic Health Letter “Exercise for your heart, more powerful than you think.” It hit me like the stunning clear sound from a bell tower.
Let me set the stage for you. You walk every day for exercise yet have a heart attack anyway. Why, doctor? Why? With all that effort I should not have had a heart attack! Ah, yes, he says but it is the very reason you survived. It was not catastrophic because of the small things you have done daily to contribute to your heart health. A closer look tells us that this exercise has created a demand on the heart muscle that could not be supported by the normal coronary blood vessels. Thus new blood vessels had to be formed to bring blood supply and oxygen to the hard working heart. Instead of having 1x number of blood vessels this hard working heart needed 1x plus!
“Reversing out of the former is impossible but a mild event is a big hallelujah.”
So the heart very smartly formed what are called collateral blood vessels. These bring additional food and oxygen to the same areas of the heart, cardio, as the normal healthy coronary arteries, thus producing a very well-served heart with a profuse, vascular blood supply. (Here is where the bell starts ringing, ever hear the word cardio-vascular?) Now one day out of the blue you have a little blood clot run through a main coronary artery. Oh no, it gets stuck. Rats, it’s a blockage! Oh what to do? Well until you get help, those smaller new collateral blood vessels come to the rescue with blood flow and nourishment that keep your heart tissue from dying. Now, what might have been a complete disaster is a mild event.
I stop typing here and start blinking. Whoa. A mild event? What would you give to have a mild event? Reversing out of the former is impossible but a mild event is a big hallelujah. Is it worth taking a little time out of our schedules to work on some exercise? You bet it is. That extra blood flow helps more than your heart, it also helps your muscles, too. That extra bit of strength can mean the difference between an injury and a near miss. It also keeps the brain functioning at a higher level. Here comes the fun part. Keep those blood vessels healthy with some Omega-3 fatty acids by eating a nice piece of salmon or delicious fish at least twice a week. Consider a glass of red wine and let the resveratrol and flavanoids get to work (read more at mayoclinic.com/health/red-wine). A little dark chocolate to top it off wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
You see it isn’t all work and no play. But if you work hard and play it right, you might be very glad. The reason to do so rings clear as a bell.