Whoomp There It Is

September 30th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

We’ve got new cardiovascular recommendations, Ladies and Gents.  The American Heart Association wants us all, by 2020, to improve our cardiovascular health by 20% and reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20%.

That seems like a lot to accomplish in eight years.


Taken from the IDEA Health and Fitness Association’s September newsletter, the goals set by the task force assigned to make this all come down to 4 Health Behaviors and 3 Health Factors:

The new Impact Goals document declares that as men and women raise their levels of physical activity by increasing the intensity, frequency and/or duration of that activity, they experience much healthier lives. Moreover, coinciding with the release of the new AHA goals, new evidence suggests that low cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is as strong a predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other health causes of mortality (referred to as all-cause mortality) as are well-established risk factors such as smoking, obesity, hypertension and diabetes (Lee et al. 2010).

Confronted with how to define and measure ideal cardiovascular health, the task force identified four health behaviors and three health factors:

4 Health Behaviors

  • nonsmoking
  • body mass index < 25 kg/m2
  • physical activity (150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity exercise, or a combination of these two)
  • consumption of a diet that promotes cardiovascular health (emphasis on a low glycemic load, high fiber, high marine omega-3 fatty acids, high polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio, and low trans fat content)

3 Health Factors

  • total cholesterol < 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
  • fasting blood glucose < 100 mg/dL
  • blood pressure < 120/80 mm Hg

Clearly those of us with diabetes have missed the Avoid Diabetes Boat (some of us by a long shot).  However, we still can do so much to reach fantastic levels of cardiorespiratory fitness we are missing another bigger boat if we don’t do our best to keep up with the other recommendations.

Let’s get after it.


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  1. Peggy says:

    What were the previous recommendations? Do you know or did the study refer to them?

    These are all good guidelines, but it seems to me that we have known about these for a while.

    But now I have to go run. Nick off a few of my 150 minutes/week.

  2. Great post, Amy. But certainly easier said than done! Creating healthy habits is more of a skill & one we are not taught. I discovered in my own life that knowing what to do was only part of the puzzle. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has some great hints & tips on developing habits for anyone who is interested

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