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Get heart smart!

February is "heart month," and we asked Trisha Bahr, CPTA Director of Rehabilitation, a few common questions about how to keep your heart healthy at any age.

What heart-healthy activities do you recommend for seniors who aren't already active?

It is recommended that seniors age 65 and older get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity weekly. That averages out to 30 minutes a day. Moderate aerobic activity would be any exercise or activity that elevates your heart rate from your normal heart rate. Some activities that would increase your heart rate would be brisk walking, riding a stationary bicycle or Nu-step, swimming, lifting weights, aerobics classes or even dancing.

When someone comes to you with a pre-existing heart condition, what steps do you take to ensure that physical therapy is done in a safe way?

When we work with patients who have a history of heart disease, we try to always get a baseline number for the patient's normal blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and exertion levels at rest and with exercise. This allows us to monitor the patient while we are working with them to have a better idea of how their body is responding to the activities we are introducing, then we can adjust the activities/exercise accordingly.

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