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Warm Up Your Heart

Most people know that you have to warm up skeletal muscles to help protect them from injury, but many do not know that warming up the heart muscle also helps to prevent heart attacks in people with blocked arteries leading to the heart

Before you try to run very fast, you can protect your muscles from injury by performing a series of runs of gradually-increasing intensity to increase the circulation of blood to your muscles. The same principle applies to the heart. Angina is a condition in which the blood vessels leading to the heart are partially blocked so the person has no pain at rest, but during exercise, the blocked arteries don't permit enough blood to get through to the heart muscles, causing pain. A study from the Quebec Heart Institute shows that exercising very slowly before a person with angina picks up the pace allows him to exercise more intensely before he feels heart pain.

If you have any suspicion of heart problems, always check with your doctor before you begin an exercise program or increase the intensity of your existing program.

What induces the warm-up ischemia/angina phenomenon: Exercise or myocardial ischemia? Circulation, 2003, Vol 107, Iss 14, pp 1858-1863. P Bogaty, P Poirier, L Boyer, J Jobin, GR Dagenais. Bogaty P, Hop Laval, Quebec Heart Inst, 2725 Chemin St Foy, St Foy, PQ G1V 4G5, CANADA

Checked 1/9/15

May 19th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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