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Richmond fitness instructor encourages heart health in daily life

February is Heart Month - heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada
heart-health
Brian Truong, director of education for Richmond-based Fitness World, said cardio exercise can be integrated into everyday life. Photo submitted

February is Heart Month and a Richmond-based company has launched free online cardio classes and provided tips on how Richmondites can improve their heart health.

Fitness World, a gym chain headquartered in Richmond's city centre, offers free heart health cardio classes on its YouTube channel.

“Cardiovascular disease or conditions of cardiovascular disease are one of the largest preventable conditions that we see out there,” said Brian Truong, director of education for the British Columbia Personal Training Institute and Fitness World.

“But taking care of your heart is something that not a lot of people put enough priority on.”

Truong said he noticed many people, especially seniors, in Richmond like to go for walks in parks, which is a great habit to have. However, it can be beneficial to their heart health to increase the intensity.

“To really improve the heart, you have to challenge it. Maybe one other day per week, we walk a little bit faster. We want to find a way to challenge ourselves,” he said.

“If you don't challenge yourself enough, then your body doesn't try to become stronger or better. So our goal is to make the heart work harder so that it has to become stronger, and when it is stronger, it makes everything else in our life a lot easier.”

Experts advise doing at least 30 minutes a day of light activity, 75 minutes a week of vigorous activity and two sessions a week of resistance training to boost overall heart health.

Truong said cardio exercise is not as complicated as some people may think and can be integrated into everyday life.

“Cardio can be any activity. Cardio could be doing a group class like Zumba, going for a brisk walk, taking your dog out, playing with your kids in a park,” he said.

And for those who can’t go outside a lot, such as new parents with a young child, they can walk around their house or walk up and down stairs.

“The idea is that we are trying to increase our general activity and challenge our heart in some way, shape or form…find the thing that they actually love to do, and start small,” Truong said.

“The more we work on it, the stronger our heart is, and we will have more time in our lives. But beyond that, when our health outcomes are better, we not only live longer, we can actually enjoy living longer.”

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