As we've moved into the new century, the definition of what constitutes the "senior years" has changed significantly.
It used to be that if you asked a person what their plans were for when they were ready to retire, they would often tell you that they were going to move to a retirement community in Florida or Arizona, to just relax and play the occasional nine holes of golf.
Nowadays a person in their 70s and 80s may tell you that they have an extensive list of things to do, like learn a second language, take up swing dancing, attend a local community college, practice tai chi along with a whole host of other mentally and physically challenging activities.
To get to that point they've tried to take care of their health, watching what they eat and perhaps taking dietary supplements. But they can't help but also admit that the specter of early appearances of forms of dementia and Parkinson's does weigh heavily upon them.
There have been several studies suggesting that there is a link between these debilitating mental diseases and low blood pressure. But even if you think you have been taking care of yourself, could the years of being sedentary due to your work and home environments cause your blood pressure to drop below healthy levels for extended periods of time?
Your circulatory system consists of two parts. Yes, your heart gets most of the attention and credit for pumping blood — with its oxygen and nutrients — through your arteries and veins. But the muscles in the inner portion of your calves are needed to help pump that blood back up to your heart to counteract the effects of gravity. Although you don't feel them contracting, these muscles — the soleus muscles — work even when you are idle to maintain proper blood pressure. If those muscles become weak and ineffective, blood will instead pool in your legs. This pooling — sometimes up to 30% of your total blood capacity — is what can cause achy joints and muscles, problems concentrating and even a significant drop in your overall blood pressure.
When we were a more manual labor society, our everyday activities kept those soleus muscles strong. But with many of today's jobs involving sitting or standing for sometimes hours at a time, combined with that same lack of activity at home working on the computer or watching television, your soleus muscles can weaken. And few physical exercises can strength them.
The HeartPartner passive exercise device works to strength your soleus muscles while you sit at your desk or at home on the couch, even while wearing shoes and socks. Developed from years of university research — including two clinical studies focusing on improving cognitive function — the HeartPartner sends timed vibrations of a specific frequency and intensity to the nerve endings in the balls of your feet. Those nerves then cause the soleus muscles to contract, not only pumping out the pooled blood from your legs but also strengthening those muscles at the same time. Starting from using for only minutes a day to gradually increasing to a hour to two daily, use of the HeartPartner can return your soleus muscles back to their youthful strength in as little as eight weeks. Plus help avoid the low blood pressure that is caused by weak soleus muscles.
The accompanying figure from a university study illustrates how fluid pooling in the legs can affect blood pressure in a person while they are sitting quietly (for example, when reading a book, watching TV or working on a computer). While a diastolic pressure of 80 mmHg is considered normal, this individual — a young woman — starts out at an already low level of less than 75mmHg, then the blood pressure proceeds to drop down to below 60mmHg, which is too low to sustain adequate blood flow to the upper parts of the body. This condition of inadequate blood pressure is referred to as hypotension.
Once the individual begins using the HeartPartner to stimulate the soleus muscles, the increased fluid return from the lower body allows the blood pressure to rise back up towards the normal range.
Now is the time that you should be assuring that your soleus muscles are prepared to taking on the exciting challenges you've set for yourself in the coming years.