Bring On The Heart Workout

By Nancy Smorch

P90X2 Plyocide!  Need I say more? 

This morning for my workout, I did P90X2 plyometrics DVD.  I had to pause it 4 times and I got light headed once towards the end.  But I made it – I survived, and now I feel great! 

I have to admit, however, my heart rate really shot up there – my heart isn’t in as good of shape as it could be (or needs to be).  I’ve kind of avoided doing exercise which gets my heart rate up for the past few years.  I’ve been working on my strength and flexibility, but not my heart.  I know it’s an area I have neglected, so I am currently focusing on strengthening my it – for a few reasons. 

One of them, obviously, is to strengthen my cardiovascular system and increase my aerobic capacity and endurance.  There have been times that we have had to, literally, run outside, grab the horses, and run them into their stalls, as a storm was fast approaching.  It’s in moments like that, that I realize the importance of strength and fitness in this area.  When we would have to move quickly, I couldn’t continue to keep a fast pace for very long – and sometimes survival and safety depends on it.  This is my motivation to keep me going in this training. 

The other reason I want to focus on this is that I notice when I get my heart rate going for a while, I feel so much more “alive” and mentally alert the rest of the day.  If you think about what’s going on in your body when your heart rate increases for an extended period, it makes total sense.  You’re breathing faster and hopefully taking deeper breaths, and thus taking in more oxygen. 

And, especially in cases w here your heart rate is higher, your brain is getting an increased supply of oxygen.  This leads to an increase in mental clarity, alertness, and focus (3 things I can always use!).  Couple this with good nutrition – whole organic foods, frutis and vegetables, raw foods, nuts, and so on, and you’ll be much better prepared to face whatever you have planned for the day.

Now, I recommend a variety in your workouts (after consulting with your physician, of course) – making sure you also incorporate strength training, flexibility, and recovery.  But for many years I neglected to work on my heart muscle and circulatory system.  Given all of the research I’m doing about the heart – especially how it is the primary organ of perception, and the knowledge of the importance of oxygenating the cells, it’s become my next area of focus form improvement. 

It’s currently not one of my favorite things to do, but I know I need it and it’s a challenge I’m ready to take on.  So, as they say in P90X, “Bring It!”