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After an Unexpected Trip to the Hospital, This Mom Started Walking and Lowered Her Resting Heart Rate

At 74, Veronica Young doesn’t have plans to slow down. In fact, she’s just getting started.

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Call sign: Veronica Young

Age: 74

City of residence: San Diego, California

Retired human geneticist, occupation

Time Running: I started walking in May 2021 and have taken 176 STRIDE lessons.

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Motive for Competing: My daughter Kathy inspires me to walk for the sake of my heart health. My very first “coach” was her.

I realized something was wrong with my heart in December 2020. My pulse rate would not go below 190 beats per minute no matter what I did (bpm). I was constantly worn out and felt like my heart was beating right into my throat. My heart was racing constantly, and I thought I was having a heart attack.

I went to my neighborhood fire station to get assistance because I came from a family of firefighters. I was admitted to the hospital right away, where an EKG confirmed my startlingly high resting heart rate of 190. I was then given the diagnosis of supraventricular tachycardia (an irregularly fast heartbeat).

I consequently needed surgery called a catheter ablation, which involves using energy to create tiny scars in the heart’s tissue in order to stop aberrant electrical signals from passing through the heart. It was a transcatheter minimally invasive structural heart surgery. This entails using blood veins that may be accessed from the groin to guide a long, thin, flexible tube known as a catheter to your heart.

I began my rehabilitation after the procedure and a few months of rest. My doctors advised me to start walking instead of running, despite the fact that I wanted to. To start, I took a stroll around my neighborhood to build up my stamina and muscles.

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I started taking lessons at my neighborhood STRIDE fitness center in May 2021, and I also started walking. Since the first class at the STRIDE studio in my condominium building is free, I decided to give it a try. My first workout was quite difficult and there were no breaks. I genuinely believed, “I can’t do this.” I complained to my daughter about how miserable I was and said, “I’m resigning!” My daughter gave me the go-ahead to try STRIDE for an entire month. I was adamantly advised to include recovery intervals on the treadmill by my son-in-law.

My kid joining me for STRIDE sessions was a huge motivator for me to continue. The coaching staff was wonderful as well, offering suggestions, clarifications, and blaring music to keep up with each activity. Our coaches also taught us how to breathe deeply, hold it, and gently exhale. My pulse rate was lowered as a result while I was on the treadmill for recovery. It works.

I haven’t started running yet, but my doctor has urged me to do so soon. I walk at various inclination levels, speeds, and distances. Additionally, I participate in other walking challenges at the studio, such as the eight-week VO2 Max Challenge, which includes an extra speed class every week. I was taken aback by how much more energized I felt after the eight-week preparation period.

I’ve been able to gauge my heart rate and pace myself when walking while using a heart rate monitor. I bought one of the heart rate monitors with a chest strap, and I use it in addition to my Apple Watch. I am able to correctly make modifications based on my heart rate and can tell when I am not fully healed.

I check into class and keep track of my progress using the STRIDE app. I was able to follow my development on the monitors in each lesson and noticed a gradual improvement in my heart rate and decrease in my pulse rate. My heart rate at rest has dropped to 62. On the monthly calendar of my watch, I also keep track of my body mass index, cardiac fitness, including VO2 max, active energy, steps, and workouts. I bought the Apple Watch as a present for myself so I could track my weekly and daily mileage.

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I now visit a physical therapist and go for walks three to four times per week. I have a list of exercises from my physical therapist that I need to do outside of my STRIDE classes. Additionally, I use the gym in my building, where I lift weights and use equipment for strength training. A 5K is what I want to run/walk.

Physical treatment and walking have drastically transformed my life. In more over a year, I have not fallen once. (I also experience inner ear vertigo, and a vestibular physical therapist has been recommended to me for treatment of inner ear crystals.)

My current objectives are to stop feeling dizzy, maintain my strength and balance, continue exercising, and prevent falling. My walking, standing, and balancing actions are powerful, intentional, and I no longer fear falling.

I’ve also been more conscious of my body. I also have better mobility, a higher VO2 max following the eight-week challenge at my studio, and stronger lower body strength, which may be attributed to working with inclines on the treadmill and strength training.

My walking trip was successful thanks to these suggestions:

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1. Hire a capable coach

I can’t say enough good things about the STRIDE coaches. I enjoy being given instructions. I value their suggestions and amendments. Running, jogging, or walking, training under the direction of a coach is considerably simpler.

2. Find assistance and a training partner.

My daughter Kathy and I exercise together. My ability to stay accountable has greatly improved because I have a workout partner. I also like working out in a group.

3. Recognize your body’s dietary requirements.

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I’ve enjoyed discovering how many calories my body expends throughout a workout. It has aided me in making the best food decisions.

4. Establish a schedule.

Do not give up; continue. Plan your day according to when you work exercise. Make getting in shape a priority. Your body will appreciate it.

Veronica’s Must-Have Equipment A Lux Fit Foam Roller, a Gaiam Essentials Premium Yoga Mat, and a Lululemon Run Times Sports Bra are all essential. The Lux Fit Foam Roller is fantastic for rehabilitation and rolling out tight muscles. The Lux Fit Sports Bra keeps everything in place.

Let us know how running has impacted you! Utilize this form to send us your stories and photos. Each week, we’ll choose one to spotlight on the website.

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