Heart health and you — Figuring out exercise, weight loss

By Dr. David Peterson | Jul 07, 2014
Dr. David Peterson

“How much should I exercise, and what is the best exercise for me?” are probably the most frequent questions I receive as a cardiologist. I always recommend to my patients that 20 – 30 minutes of daily exercise six days per week is the best. I usually leave the type of exercise to the patient. A combination of both aerobic exercise and light weight lifting is best. For patients with orthopedic (spine, joint, or muscle) issues, water-based aerobics and exercise are excellent, because most of the weight put on the joints is relieved by the ability to float in water. A regular exercise program often leads to more energy, better blood pressure, better lipid (cholesterol) control and often better sleep conditions.

This answer usually leads to another question; what is my optimal weight? I use the BMI (body mass index) calculation to answer that question. BMI is the measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. There are numerous calculators on the Internet, and the optimal BMI is 18.5-25.  You are considered overweight at 25-30 and considered obese if BMI is greater than 30.

As a patient’s weight increases, their overall cardiovascular risk (dealing with heart and blood vessels) also increases. In order to lose weight, I find that the best way is to have a daily exercise program as well as being careful with the number of calories you eat daily. I recommend a 1 pound-per-week weight loss, as this has been shown to be both safe and effective long-term.

Dr. David Peterson, a cardiologist with Western Carolina Cardiology, and affiliated with MedWest Haywood, will be hosting a seminar on your top heart questions. The questions he will cover will range from medications to exercise. He will also answer any other questions you may have. The seminar will take place at 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, at the MedWest Haywood Health and Fitness Center classrooms. Those interested in attending this seminar may register by calling Katherine at 452-8883 or sign up at www.medwesthaywood.org/seminar.

Dr. David Peterson is a cardiologist at Western Carolina Cardiology in Clyde, and is on the medical staff at MedWest Haywood.