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Younger Next Year Day #6 – The Heart of the Matter

Have you known someone that has had open heart surgery before? I know I have and all would agree that its not something they would recommend to anyone. They all wished they had done more to avoid blocked arteries and chest pain! Ironically, the post surgical rehab entails doing things, that if done before they were forced under the knife, could have prevented the surgery in the first place.

One major activity that keeps you out of the hospital is aerobic activity. I know, not a big secret, right! But even though many seem to know they need to do it, they don’t make it a priority..until its too late. So what to do and how much?



  • Set Long Term Goals- In a year, you should be able to do a 3 hour bike ride or hike without being too winded even if your 60, 70 or 80 years old. A secondary goal would be to perform a high endurance cardio session for an hour with bouts of not being able to talk, a hands on your knees kind of workout.  You would be in pretty decent shape if you work up to these goals.
  • Invest in a heart rate monitor- figuring out your target heart rate is key to knowing how hard you can push yourself. Different heart rate percentage levels are achieved depending on the particular exercise.  These levels are good to know and indicate if you need to ramp it up more or take it down a notch. I suggest a monitor with a chest strap and watch, nice they seem to be more accurate. Reviews on the top HR monitors 
  • Do some type of aerobic exercise 4 days a week, for the rest of your life 😉
  • Get some short bike rides in but plan on working up to a long one at least once to see how your endurance is.

  •  If running is your sport of choice, work up to longer runs into the long and slow heart rate which is 60-65% your Max. Occasionally, go into an all out sprint to challenge your heart and get your heart rate into an anaerobic level which is 85-100% of your max.
  • Finding a cardio program or some type of activity that will test your heart and get it pumping faster is the key. Doing a variety of cardio workouts can also keep you more engaged and not getting bored. If you need some suggestions and would want to try some at-home workouts, you could give these a shot.   

My hope is that you get started by adding aerobic exercise to your daily routine, along with your strength training. Sometimes, taking the first steps can be the toughest but then you start to see changes, feel better and know that you are taking action to improve your heart, mind and your body. You may even get addicted and keep that doctor away!