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LiveWell: His & Hers
Planning the Not-So-Perfect Holiday
Sportsmen know that hunting can be dangerous, but few
know that having a heart attack is one of those dangers.
New research shows that a heart attack can happen to men
with known — or hidden — heart disease.
“The heart rate of some hunters we studied almost doubled
upon just seeing a deer, even though they were standing
totally still,” says Susan Haapaniemi, Beaumont Health
System exercise physiologist.
So you can imagine what trekking through terrain, targeting
and then moving a deer out of the woods can do. In the
study, those actions took hunters’ heart rates way above
their maximum.
“If you exceed your maximum heart rate for a sustained
period, you’re at great risk for heart attack, whether or not
you realize you have heart disease,” she says. “Hunting can
trigger a heart attack.” You can fnd your maximum heart
rate through a stress test or estimate it by subtracting
your age from the number 220. For example, if you are 60
years old, your maximum heart rate would be about 160.
Hunters Beware
Susan recommends exercising at about 75 percent of your
maximum heart rate but warns that “the danger comes
when you aren’t in shape and suddenly do something
strenuous, like hunting, which puts you near or even above
your maximum heart rate.”
The solution? Take steps to keep your heart healthy:
Maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke, limit alcohol and
start a walking or exercise program to increase your ftness
level. “And while hunting, if you feel short of breath, take
a break, recover and then carry on,” she says. If you
experience dizziness, chest pain or heart palpitations, get
immediate medical attention.
Susan suggests a stress test for those at risk for heart
disease. “We can spot underlying coronary artery disease
before you have any signs. You don’t have to stop hunting;
just do it safely and smartly.”
“Remove some of that pressure by being realistic. Do only
as much as you can do,” she says. “Use careful planning to
handle the rest.”
Look for ways to simplify. Consider not sending cards, skip
the big meal by hosting a dessert-only party, and consider
buying fewer gifts. Be sure to ask for help by delegating
decorating, shopping, cooking and cleanup to family and
friends. And plan for some personal “me” time.
“Find a way to make a celebration for yourself, with a good
book and a bubble bath, or maybe a pedicure,” Donna
recommends. “If you like to bake, make time for that and
let someone else handle the rest.”
Most important, accept that it may not all get done. “Give
yourself a break about being perfect. The world won’t
end if you don’t send holiday cards, but if you keep it in
perspective, you’ll have a more enjoyable holiday season.”
The holidays bring music, celebration and usually another
unwelcome gift — stress. That’s especially true for women
determined to create “the perfect holiday.”
“Women organize the get-togethers, which means the
planning, shopping, cooking, even the holiday cards,” says
Donna Watson, clinical case manager in HAP’s Coordinated
Behavioral Health Management department. “We have this
expectation that everything must be perfect and that you’re
in charge of creating that perfect experience for everyone.”
You can ease the stress by
planning what she calls the
“not-so-perfect” holiday.