Heart Health and Cancer

​February is Heart Health month, where there is a focus on raising awareness of things that can affect your heart health.

The impact of cancer treatment on the heart is a major health concern. Following a heart healthy lifestyle can help to prevent heart health problems and help manage the cardiac issues linked to a cancer diagnosis.

Here is what you can do to help keep your heart healthy:

  • have a healthy weight,
  • eat a healthy diet,
  • quit smoking,
  • reduce alcohol intake (less than 1-2 drinks per day),
  • stress-management.

Also, regular physical activity following a diagnosis of cancer may also help to improve cardiac health (reduce high blood pressure, lower resting heart rate and improve cholesterol levels).

How Intense is Your Exercise?

To get the most out of your exercise sessions, it is important to be working at the right INTENSITY. Intensity for exercise means how hard you are working during your work out. To get the most benefit, you can't be working too lightly, but to be safe, you can't work too hard. So getting into the right "zone" of intensity is important.

There are two ways to check how hard you are working:

  1. Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) – On a scale from 1-10, how hard are you working? With 1 being 'Nothing at all' and 10 being 'Very, Very Hard'. It's best to be in the range of 3-6.
  2. Heart Rate (HR) – Your heart responds to exercise by beating harder and faster. It is quite easy to check your heart rate (or pulse) at two spots on body: your neck and your wrist.

You can find your pulse on your neck just below your jaw and on either side of your wind pipe.

You can find your pulse on your wrist just below where your thumb meets your arm.

When checking pulse, always use the flat part of your fingers instead of the finger tips (never your thumb). Your "target" heart rate can be calculated by your exercise leader in your exercise class.

Having regular medical check-ups with your family doctor to monitor cardiac risk factors including blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels will also ensure that if a cardiac issue arises, that it will be detected and treated as early as possible.

ELLICSR offers exercise programs that can help you exercise safely. For more information about exercise, call ELLICSR reception at: 416-581-8620.