Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A

Posts Tagged ‘heart rate

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit:Kymberly and Alexandra

Q: Why do cardio fitness teachers always say “keep your head above your heart” when bending down?

Babs, Santa Barbara, CA

A: Hi Babs. We cardio teachers say this because we want to know exactly whom we will be giving rescue breathing to when you pass out. If your lipstick doesn’t match ours, we will have to make a split-second decision about whether or not to rush over and commence the ol’ huff and puff to bring color back into your vibrant (yet probably somewhat clammy at this point) face. And why should we be in a position to provide rescue breathing? There you were, just exercising away, enjoying the heck out of “Mack the Knife” being played on the sound system. “Babs,” your personal wiring system says, “You are working hard. As a reward, your muscle cells shall now demand increased oxygen. Because your muscles are so bossy and demanding, we won’t argue. Instead, we will increase your heart rate and blood flow so your muscles will like us and continue to take us nice places”. Well, let’s say you drop your head below your heart. While your head is inverted, you don’t realize that you’ve just invested in real estate and gotten yourself a lovely pool. It’s red and is in your head. Along with that increased blood pressure.

K: Did anyone follow that? Then you must have diminished oxygen supply to your brain, because I got lost somewhere around “Hi Babs.” Or Alexandra got her heart rate up answering, then suddenly stopped and dropped…. while still typing. Twin translation provided here: Cardio exercise involves raising the heart rate. An uppity heart rate provides more oxygen to working muscles AND the brain. (We are hoping the brain is working during all that activity. Always makes exercise more interesting). Heart rate up, then head suddenly down puts gravity in charge. (See “Perky, Not Saggy” for more on overcoming the effects of gravity). Blood rush to head. Whoa, feeling dizzy. Lots of pressure from rapidly pumping blood and increased blood volume. Then you lift your head above your heart again and WHAM, gravity takes over once more leaving you lightheaded. Your heart pumped out the oxygen, but you just started a fight between gravity and your brain for the game of “who gets the oxygen?”  Need I say more?

A: Don’t talk to me about pressure. Do you know how many nights I’ve stayed up, afraid to drop my head and anger my muscles? The last time they got mad, they moved my joints all over the place and I ended up walking uphill. Both directions!

K: Ok, I do need to say more. First, Alexandra: pull your head up and out.  Second, since in all my years of teaching, I have never had to rescue someone from the dreaded “head below heart- pass out” syndrome, I think this cue is really an excuse to see who’s listening and who is clock watching. ALWAYS listen to your instructor, especially if she looks like one of us.

A:Well, I am obviously more special as I have had to deal with the “Thar she blows” syndrome. Sadly, twas I. Yup, I had given blood and thought it would be an excellent idea to do a high intensity class. My brain did not agree and decided to depart for an “out of body” experience. Do you know how hard it is to give yourself rescue breathing when you are not fully, er, present? Ka-Plonk! By the way, yesterday a colleague suggested I would live longer if I decreased my stress and pressure. I said I was all for that. I want to live longer so I have more time to be stressed and worried. What?

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Kymberly and Alexandra-so young, so fit, so funny!

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Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A