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  • Writer's pictureThe Virtual PT

The Water Hose Analogy

Many people think that performing daily household activities or having a job where they’re on their feet all day is "enough" when it comes to staying active...

Here is an analogy I often use in my Wellness Consultations to educate clients on why it’s so important to get your heart rate up (beyond that of daily activities) for true heart health!

The Water Hose

In this example, imagine that your blood vessels are a water hose. In a perfect world, the water would flow through clean tubing and there would never be any grime or build-up.

Unfortunately for many Americans, we tend to have a lot of "bad" cholesterol flowing through our bloodstreams and these particles can get lodged in the walls of our arteries. Over time, these buildups form a hard substance known as plaque which can cause any number of cardiovascular complications.

Now think about this cholesterol build-up in your arteries like the grimy substance you see on the rim of a water hose...

At normal speeds, the water keeps flowing out of the hose but the grime stays put. In fact, new mineral sediments are flowing through at these slower speeds and getting stuck on the current build-up, adding to the problem. This would be like the blood flowing through your vessels with normal, daily activities.

Now, to simulate high intensity exercise, imagine you put your thumb over the end of the hose and cause the water to burst out at a powerful speed. There is enough force now to knock off some of that grime from the rim!

This same idea applies to keeping your blood vessels clean from plaque build up. The secret? Achieving a sustained, high, heart rate during exercise.

With normal daily activities (walking, running errands, etc.) your heart rate tends to stay in a range that is not sufficient to help clean out the cholesterol build-up in your arteries.

When you get your heart rate up high, though, the blood flows through your vessels at increased speeds and pressures which can knock off those dangerous deposits that are building up on the sides.

Get outta here plaque!

Remember: aim for progress, not perfection! Every time you get your heart rate up with exercise you are helping to keep your blood vessels clean and prevent heart disease!

Not sure how high your heart rate should be during exercise? Learn how to calculate your ideal heart rate ranges here.

You've got this!

-The Virtual PT

Interested in a comprehensive Wellness Consultation to evaluate and set goals for your exercise, sleep, nutrition, ergonomic, and stress-management habits? Click here for more info.

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