They carried him out on a stretcher. The doctor said it was a heart attack; nothing anyone could do. Aged 61 recently retired…. it is an unfortunate script that is played out every day in family homes around the world.

At least he didn’t suffer the doctor said, since it happened while he slept.

Despite dramatic medical advances over the past 50 years, heart disease remains the leading cause of death amongst humans accounting for 42 percent of all deaths worldwide. Sadly, one-half of the victims are under the age of 65.

In the US alone one person dies every 33 seconds from heart disease which is over 2,600 people every single day! 

The reality is, 20 million people survive heart attacks and strokes each year many requiring continuing costly medical care.

The sad truth about these frightening statistics is that much of this is preventable.

Exercise and our hearts –

Our heart is a muscle just like any other. It is not some mysterious beating organ, but rather a pure, powerhouse muscle that responds to vigorous activity the same way other muscles do. We can beef it up and keep it strong, or we can let it get scrawny, unfit and weak.

Strength training exercise is the type of exercise that keeps all of our muscles strong and healthy including our heart. Like other muscles our heart becomes stronger and larger as a result of performing these types of resistence exercises allowing it to pump more efficiently. Now it won’t pump or work as hard or as often even when its owner is sleeping or resting.

The resting heart rate of those who are strong and fit is slower because less effort is needed to pump blood meaning it doesn’t have to produce as many beats per minute to pump the same amount of blood. It is beating slower but more efficiently.

If we slow our pulse from 70 to 60 beats per minute by increasing our strength and fitness, we save our heart from beating over 14,000 times in one day. Over the course of a lifetime that equals over 5 million heart beats saved. That’s alot of wear and tear  reduction on the heart and blood vessels.

In other words, our heart becomes a more efficient machine producing less beats over a lifetime which correlates with our living a longer life.

We often mistakenly think that cardiovascular (long duration, low intensity, repetitive) activity is essential for heart/lung conditioning but this is incorrect.

It is the muscles that demand blood from the heart system not the other way around. Strong muscles mean a strong heart assisting in pushing and “milking” blood around the body taking some of the load off it making its job easier.

That same long, slow, low intensity activity has now been proven to make the heart/lung system smaller and weaker than what was previously believed. Downsizing the body’s major pump is not a healthy thing to do as it increases the risk of disease. This is why strength training is the best type of exercise for a strong heart and lungs.

Why is strength training so beneficial? Because when we perform strength training exercises at moderate intensity where we get our heart rate up and keep it up, it simultaneously engages both our muscular system and our cardiovascular system.

Basically, when we make our muscles stronger, we make our body stronger, which helps everything. In essence having strong muscles takes strain off the heart. Strong toned muscles perform better with less oxygen which means the heart does not have to work as hard when we exert ourselves.

Strong muscles help circulate blood around the body as their firmness and tone squeezes blood vessels every time we move acting as auxiliary pumps. This reduces the workload on the heart meaning the heart doesn’t have to pump as hard when we are active. By extension, strong muscles are good for our blood pressure.

The opposite occurs when the body’s muscular system is allowed to lose strength and become weak and flabby when not enough muscle building and maintaining activity is done. This puts much more strain on the heart. We often see this when people stupidly go out and run a race and drop dead in the process.

It does not have to be this way if we take action and get started on a strength training program as our protective measure against the ravages of this silent killer disease. If we do not take this as our responsibility we more than double our chances of heart disease.

Our health is dependent on our many habits and two major ones are how active we are and the quality of our nutrition. We cannot allow inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle to shorten our one and only precious life. We surely want to be around to get to know our grandchildren, but we must be around to meet them first!

There is abundant proof that the human body has the ability to make disease simply disappear (or never appear in the first place) when it has the elements needed such as proper exercise and nutrition. There are countless individuals that have been diagnosed with debilitating disease only to be deemed free just months late and still alive and kicking ten, twenty or more years down the road because of a major shift in lifestyle habits.

It’s time to adopt a preventive approach to personal health and a positive, brighter future.

“Wellness Wake Up Call”     can help you do just that…

For more tools and resources from Carolyn Hansen to assist you in attaining your health and fitness goals and achieving the success you desire in life, please visit:

Carolyn Hansen Fitness