Q & A with Cardiologist, Philip Ades, M.D.

CardiologistWhat kinds of exercise do you recommend?

People should build aerobic and strength exercise into their lives. The benefits of each form of exercise include:

Aerobic exercise

  • Prolongs life
  • Prevents heart disease
  • Improves quality of life
  • Prevents obesity
  • Prevents Type II diabetes
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Raises "good" cholesterol
  • May lower cancer rates

Strength exercise

  • Increases strength and endurance
  • Increases muscle mass
  • Increases resting metabolic rate (burn more calories at rest)
  • Prevents disability as you age 

How much aerobic exercise do I need?

Moderate intensity exercise, such as walking or gardening can make a big difference. As long as you're increasing your breathing and heart rate for 30 minutes, five days a week, you're doing enough to get the benefits.

For more vigorous exercise, such as running or cycling, 20 minutes at least three times a week will improve your health.

Isn't strength exercise for young people?

No, in fact, weight or resistance training is most important for people as they age. Muscle mass begins to decrease in your 40s, is measurably decreased in your 60s, and even more so into your 80s.

This means greater risk for injury and disability. Be sure to start
gradually, and seek advice on proper form.

What if I don't have time to exercise?

The truth is that we're all busy, and it isn't easy to stick with an exercise routine. But, if you commit to making exercise a high priority in your life, then you'll find time.

What tips do you have for sticking to an exercise program?

  • Find activities you like (or dislike the least)
  • Keep at it, it will feel better in 2-4 weeks
  • Use gadgets and gizmos (pedometers/step counter)
  • Reward yourself (not with food)
  • Exercise with a friend (or your dog)
  • Record your progress. Mark the calendar on days you've exercised so you see what you've accomplished.