February is Heart Month: Lets Take Yours To The Gym

February is filled with Heart Month celebration activities — from Valentine’s Day dinners and chocolate candy deliveries to Go Red for Women American Heart Association events.   But did you know that one of the most important and safest activities for your heart during February happens at the gym?

We all know that aerobic exercise is good for your heart.  Although there is a slightly higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) at the time of exercise for both physically active and more sedentary individuals1 , overall your heart gets healthier from aerobic exertion.   And if you are getting your aerobic exercise dose at a “traditional exercise facility”, i.e. a gym,  that slightly higher risk of SCA is mitigated by this:   your chances of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest are about 10% higher if you experience the SCA at a gym as compared to other exercise locations, such as a bowling alley.

Why are gyms safer?  The research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, points to the high number of automated external defibrillators (AEDS) located in gyms.   Although compulsory AED placement varies by state, generally more AEDs are located in gyms because of that slightly higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest that can occur during strenuous exercise.    Most gyms are on alert and more prepared than other exercise locations to handle that rare occurrence of a sudden heart attack.

And it doesn’t hurt that gyms have personal trainers and staff members who are certified in CPR/AED and First Aid.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE), a non-profit organization that claims to have trained more than 58,000 Certified Fitness Professionals, requires their students pass a CPR/AED training course in order to complete their personal trainer certification.

The CPR/AED training for ACE students must come from a recognized CPR training provider that requires hands on skills assessment as well as course work.  (The Beating Heart Center training classes, approved by the American Health and Safety Institute and the American Heart Association, provide CPR and AED training that meets those criteria.)

The personal trainers at your gym will have received infant, child and adult CPR training as well as instructions on how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).    (If you are pursuing your personal training certification and need CPR/AED classes near you in the San Diego area, click here for a schedule).

Yes, the gym is busier in February than almost any other time of year.  Many of us are working on keeping our heart healthy resolutions such as that thirty minute per day aerobic heart work out.

Yes, the gym is busier in February than almost any other time of year.  Many of us are working on keeping our heart healthy resolutions such as that thirty minute per day aerobic heart work out.

So you may have a slight wait for a treadmill or other aerobic exercise machine because of the high traffic at your local establishment.  Don’t give up!  Getting your time on the machine is so beneficial to your heart’s well-being.    Not only is it safer than working out at some other locales, you will be burning off some of those Valentine’s Day chocolates, too.

Sources:

  1. Albert  C.M., Mittleman  M.A., Chae  C.U., Lee  I.-M., Hennekens  C.H., Manson  J.E.; Triggering of sudden death from cardiac causes by vigorous exertion. N Engl J Med. 2000;343:1355-1361
  2. https://www.acefitness.org/fitness-certifications/certified-cpr.aspx
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/13/survive-sudden-cardiac-arrest-gym-survival-odds_n_3721359.html