Taking care of your cardiopulmonary health

05 January 2023

Cardiopulmonary health is important for everyone, as it improves the hearts efficiency to supply oxygenated blood and nutrients throughout the body.

Veterans can experience poor cardiopulmonary health for several reasons, including a history of smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, and poor diet.

If the body cannot deliver the oxygenated blood to the body, a number of negative symptoms can occur, including chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness. 

What impacts your cardiopulmonary health?

A range of factors can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These include:

  • physical inactivity or very low levels of exercise (less than 15-minutes weekly)

  • smoking (the leading reversable risk factor for cardiovascular disease) 

  • low fruit consumption (where the usual daily intake is one serve or less)

  • low vegetable consumption (where the usual daily intake is three serves or less)

  • alcohol consumption (more than four standard drinks for men and two for women per day)

  • high blood pressure (also known as hypertension, which is when your blood pressure is greater than 140/90mmHg, with the ideal pressure being below 120/80mmHg)

  • high blood cholesterol (which can lead to a build-up of plaque in the artery walls which causes narrowing of the artery, resulting in angina or myocardial infarction)

  • obesity (BMI of 30kg/m2 or more)

The good news is these factors are modifiable, meaning a lifestyle intervention can lead to significant improvements. 

Through exercising, several of these conditions can be targeted resulting in a better health outcome. 

Exercising for cardiopulmonary health

Exercise can improve cardiopulmonary health by improving the heart's ability to deliver oxygen to the body, essentially making the heart a more efficient pump. 

Exercise also helps by combating risk factors, including lowering blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol, decreasing body weight, and lowering blood sugar levels. 

By working with an Exercise Physiologist at Mates4Mates, veterans and family members can receive a better understanding and greater confidence in managing their heart or respiratory conditions.

Support at Mates4Mates

The Mates4Mates Cardiopulmonary Rehab Program is once again running in 2023 in South East Queensland, with expressions of interest opening for veterans who are registered Mates in mid-January

Led by one of our Exercise Physiologists across eight weeks, the program will provide veterans with lifestyle modifications and strategies they can implement to manage their own cardiopulmonary conditions.

At Mates4Mates, Exercise Physiologists also offer individualised exercise and education programs in both a one-on-one and group setting suited to you and your cardiopulmonary conditions, or other health-related concerns.

If you’re a veteran or family member and would like to find out more about seeing an Exercise Physiologist at Mates4Mates, reach out to us on 1300 4 MATES for a confidential chat.

To book an appointment, you will need a Medicare or DVA referral from your GP. You do not need to be an inducted Mate to access exercise physiology services.

Written by Jonathon Peers, Mates4Mates Exercise Physiologist

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