Home / How to Take Care of Your Heart *Aerobic Exercise*


By Carrie Dorr

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. About 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year [1 in every 4 deaths] equating to one person dying every 36 seconds. Although these are grim statistics, the good news is that an estimated 80% of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, are preventable. With February being American Heart Health Month, it’s an opportune time to talk about ways we can take care of our hearts.

Do you know the difference between Cardiovascular Disease, Heart Disease and Coronary Heart Disease? I did not. The below explanation is directly from the National Heart, Lung + Blood Institute [NIH].

Cardiovascular Disease - The big umbrella
Cardiovascular disease is the term for all types of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels, including coronary heart disease (clogged arteries), which can cause heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease.

Coronary Heart Disease - A type of heart disease
Coronary heart disease is often referred to simply as “heart disease,” although it’s not the only type of heart disease. Another term for it is coronary artery disease. Coronary heart disease occurs when plaque (a combination of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood) builds up in your arteries. You may have heard this called clogged arteries or atherosclerosis. The plaque reduces the amount of oxygen-rich blood getting to your heart, which can cause chest pain (also called angina). Plaque can also lead to blood clots, which block blood flow and are the most common cause of a heart attack.

Heart Disease- A type of cardiovascular disease
“Heart disease” is a catch-all phrase for a variety of conditions that affect the heart’s structure and function. Keep in mind — all heart diseases are cardiovascular diseases, but not all cardiovascular diseases are heart disease. The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease. In fact, when people talk about “heart disease” they often mean coronary heart disease.

What can we do to best take care of our hearts?

  1. Move More
  2. Eat healthy foods
  3. Aim for a healthy weight
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Reduce Stress + Improve Sleep
  6. Know your numbers- blood pressure, cholesterol, weight + blood sugars and keep track of them

Let’s dig deeper in to Move More
There are 4 main types of physical activity: aerobic, muscle-strengthening, bone-strengthening and stretching. Although all 4 types of physical activity deliver great health benefits, we are going to focus on Aerobic activity as it is the type of physical activity that benefits your heart and lungs the most.

Aerobic activity moves your large muscles, such as those in your arms and legs. A simple way to think about it is, aerobic activity makes your heart beat faster than usual. Aerobic means "with oxygen." Aerobic exercise is also called cardio, short for “cardiovascular. During aerobic activity your heart rate increases and you breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood and ultimately helps you use oxygen more efficiently. Over time, regular aerobic activity makes your heart and lungs stronger and able to work better.

Fortunately, there are many ways to get your cardio in and it’s great to mix it up! Running, swimming, walking, biking are just a few examples. The key is finding activities you enjoy. Personally, I love to hike, bike + run outside [check out my outdoor exercise winter gear guide here] and do O44 METHOD inside.

Why O44 METHOD you ask? Many reasons, but here are my top 3:

  1. The cardio segments combine Oldskool Step Aerobics with Newskool plyometrics so there is some 90s nostalgia mixed with new + modern.
  2. Pattern. I try to stay away from the word choreography because you don’t need a dance background to do this workout but I love repeating pattern to a beat. It takes my mind off the fact that I’m doing cardio as I’m focused on the pattern and once I have the pattern, repeating it becomes somewhat meditative in nature.
  3. Working with the O44 BOX makes is simple to choose not only your level of impact but your intensity. Our body really changes daily so knowing that there is always an option allows for consistency and consistency is imperative for efficacy in any exercise regimen.

Check out the below quick clips of O44 METHOD cardio to see how you can build up and build down. All 4 clips use the exact same pattern [choreography] but are altered slightly to allow for Low Impact, High Impact and High Intensity.

Have fun and remember to take care of your heart!