GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - Finding an exercise routine you love is the best way to a healthy heart. In fact, a Harvard University study found that exercise is as good for your heart as prescription medication. And it's never too late to get moving.
At nearly 77 years old, Susan is realizing just how big a role exercise plays in her quality of life.
"At my age, it's all about my heart and oxygen," she said. "It's not about calories."
One of the ways she gets that daily dose of oxygen is through Zone classes at MVP in Grand Rapids.
"It's short bursts of tough, tough work followed by recovery."
The class targets different heart rate zones by raising and lowering them throughout the class. Fitness Manager Andrea Scott says the best part is you get to track your progress, which gives you motivation to work harder. "You check in with your Bluetooth heart rate monitor account; it gives you all of the information specific to you -- your gender, your weight, your training frequency," she said.
That type of controlled lowering and raising of your heart rate is supported by cardiologists as one of the best ways to improve your heart health.
"The health benefits of zone training or interval training is better than high-intensity, long-term exercise," said cardiologist Dr. Thomas Boyden. He explains that's because it's not just about getting your heart rate up but also lowering it. "I think it's very beneficial to people who are exercising to look at how their heart rate recovers, because it will give them a sense of how physically fit they are. The faster it recovers, the better."
High intensity interval training classes, like MVP's Zone, are designed to give you optimal heart health -- and Dr. Boyden says that benefits your whole body. "The muscle itself gets a little bit stronger, it stays a little more toned, so it's more effective at pumping -- so when it pumps the blood supply to the body it's a little bit easier when it pumps. The older you get the more important it is."
It's one of the best ways to Love Your Heart.