Hey Hero! Check Out June’s story…

Hey Hero! Check Out June’s story…

June Chewning, Director Education for NAFC shares this story with us to help underscore the importance of understanding the basics of body health and chronic disease. This story also gives a real life example that can help us understand how the work we do as fitness professionals can help people develop healthy habits that can have a positive impact on their lives.

In my 41 years working in the fitness industry I have had some interesting experiences. One experience occurred when I came to the fitness center one morning and a man was sitting at a table looking very uncomfortable. He said he pulled a chest muscle, but I found out he had been doing biceps curls. I went and got my blood pressure cuff and quickly discovered he was in trouble. His pulse was thready and his blood pressure was tanking. He refused an ambulance, but I managed to get him to agree to get in the car and go to a small medical center that was close.  They stabilized and transported him to a heart hospital, and he had triple bypass surgery that afternoon. I was a “Blood Pressure Hero” that day.

Many of us as fitness professionals avoid cuing into important vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure. We don’t understand them, don’t know how to take them correctly, or just don’t have time to deal with it.  As fitness continues to connect and merge with medicine, it is becoming necessary for all levels of fitness professionals to learn more about basic body health and chronic disease. Basic vital signs are a window to the basic function of the body that can be very revealing.

High blood pressure is called the silent killer for good reason: there are no symptoms and it often goes undiagnosed or uncontrolled.  High blood pressure or Hypertension is directly related to atherosclerosis and heart disease as well as stroke, the 2 leading causes of death in most developed countries. There are important things fitness professionals should understand about blood pressure and exercise. Here are few facts:

  • High or uncontrolled blood pressure is very dangerous and poses a very serious health threat.
  • Exercise and diet are the most successful ways to control blood pressure.
  • For hypertension, exercise, diet, and 2 classes of blood pressures are used to help lower blood pressure.
  • Exercise should only be initiated after a client with high or uncontrolled BP has seen their health care professional and is under medical supervision and treatment. Systolic blood pressure can increase significantly during exercise, so a client coming to you with known (suspected) high blood pressure should not exercise without medical clearance.
  • Pregnant clients with preeclampsia or chronic high blood pressure should not be exercising during pregnancy and sometimes postpartum as it may exacerbate the condition and can be very serious.
  • Clients with pulmonary hypertension require physician clearance and may require oxygen during exercise or a medically supervised exercise program.

Chronic exercise is confirmed by research to be successful for preventing and managing hypertension. The benefit of exercise is primarily due to Post Exercise Hypotension (PEH). For most people BP is lower than pre-exercise BP after exercise, and chronic exercise can sustain PEH resulting in lower resting blood pressure.  

It is important for all fitness professionals to have a basic understanding of blood pressure. NAFC has a fantastic CEC course that helps our students develop a greater understanding of heart health, and we are running special on that course this month in honor of heart health awareness! Check it out here, and use code HEART2020 for 25% off <3

June Chewning has served the health-fitness industry for many years as a land and aquatic fitness professional, trainer, and teacher.

Healthy Heart for a Healthy Life!

Healthy Heart for a Healthy Life!

February is widely recognized as Heart Month, and in honor of that we are offering up some heart healthy goodness for ya! Read all the way through for a treat for yourself as well <3

This post features an excerpt from our CEC Course, Healthy Heart for a Healthy Life. Trainers work with people from all walks of life, and trainees returning to an exercise program after medical procedures or diagnoses will likely be part of your training experience. Rehabilitation following a cardiac event is a multi-step process, and this piece gives an overview of the progression.

Cardiac Rehabilitation and Return to Unsupervised Exercise

Cardiac Rehabilitation is a medically based, professionally supervised program that assists people in recovering from heart attacks, heart surgeries, and other coronary interventions such as PTCA (angioplasty) and stenting.

Cardiac rehab intervention, most often prescribed by doctor referral, has been shown to reduce rates of re-hospitalization, lower mortality rate, decrease the need for cardiac medications, and increase the rate at which people return to work.

In cardiac rehabilitation, clients are carefully monitored and under the supervision of a cardiac registered nurse and other medical professionals. There is a crash cart present in the facility for if an emergency arises. Clients are taught to self monitor and connect with their body through Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and other means in order to listen to their body, monitor symptoms, and to exercise safely and appropriately.

Special medical training and equipment is required in cardiac rehabilitation. Although clients may want to skip a long drive to go into town to go to cardiac rehab, or it may not be at convenient times, it is important that cardiac rehab be completed and they are cleared to join/participate in a community setting. It is very unwise to allow clients to participate in community programs without proper participation and clearance from cardiac rehabilitation. Physician’s consent for participation in a group fitness class, personal training, or small group training is strongly advised and initial (preferably ongoing) communication with the cardiac rehab team is encouraged.

Phases of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Phase

Description

Phase I (Inpatient)

  • Provide patient education concerning lifestyle changes (heart healthy food choices, regular exercise and risk factor modification)
  • Provide education on intervention or surgery when hospitalized (signs/symptoms or heart attack, CHF, stent placement, CABG, PAD, etc.)
  • Ambulate patient if possible and provide information on home exercise program.
  • If patient has had open heart surgery, ROM exercises and/or ambulation daily, incentive spirometry, coughing/splinting and home activity guidelines especially for post discharge care.

Phase II (Outpatient)

  • Post-intervention patients
  • Physician referral needed
  • All patients monitored by telemetry units during individualized exercise program.
  • Patients taught how to monitor heart rate, RPE (rate of perceived exertion) and symptoms during exercise
  • Exercise sessions include ~30+ minutes of cardiovascular activity, moderate strength training (approval needed), and cardiovascular risk factor modification education on at least 3 days/week
  • Number of exercise sessions depends on condition and physical response to exercise

Phase III
(Wellness/Maintenance)

  • Non-monitored, supervised maintenance program
  • Can be located in hospital or other fitness facility
  • Exercise guidelines provided by progress in Phase II, physician recommendations, and patient’s needs/goals

Phase IV
(Wellness/Maintenance)

  • Home exercise guidelines given
  • May exercise at community facility
  • Encouraged to monitor Intensity (HR, RPE, symptoms, etc.)
  • Focus on making positive lifestyle changes
  • Some programs are Phase III/IV combined

Working with clients that have heart disease in a group or individual setting requires fitness professionals to follow safe guidelines and recommendations. It is important to understand these exercise guidelines especially for those who have heart disease and have attended cardiac rehabilitation phase 2. Educate yourself, seek advice, and consider shadowing an experienced professional when creating a client base for those who have been cleared to exercise in cardiac rehabilitation phase 3 and 4 programs.

The information in this course is from the NAFC Continuing education course “Healthy Heart for a Healthy Life” by Tina Schmidt-McNulty.

Alright, now for your treat! We are offering a discount on this course all February. When you purchase it, use discount code HEART2020 for 25% off the list price. This course is worth .3 CECs toward your certification renewal!