Heart doctor runs his daily commute

Dr. Steven Bolling sets an example for patients by running to work everyday

 

Steven Bolling, M.D., a heart surgeon at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, who like the rest of us tries to fit in some daily exercise — has been running to work every day for the past 30 years. It’s physical activity and it’s stress relief for the 60-year-old who fixes faulty heart valves.

He’s one of the busiest mitral valve surgeons in the country, helping patients whose hearts are forced to work harder when their mitral valve isn’t working properly. The operations take three to four hours and he usually does two cases a day.

Before hitting the road for his 6-mile run, he shared a few thoughts about his routine:

Athletic as a kid

As a kid I was a swimmer. When I pulled myself out of the pool I figured I’d better do something to stay active so I started running. I’ve basically run every day since then: college, medical school, residency and now that I’m on the faculty (as a professor of cardiac surgery).

My Zen moment

My motivation to go to work running is basically that it’s my Zen moment. I really take that time out and that’s when I think about stuff.

Practice what I preach

Some of my patients know that I run to work every day and they think it’s fascinating. They think it’s great that I’m getting in cardio every day. To practice what you preach is a good philosophy. I don’t know that running to work every day is practical for everyone, but doctors really should be examples for our patients.

bolling on road blog


Steven_Fredric_Bolling_headshotSteven Bolling, M.D., is the medical director of the U-M Mitral Valve Clinic. After earning a medical degree at the University of Michigan Medical School, he completed his surgical residency and cardiothoracic surgery training at Johns Hopkins. At the U-M, he leads cardio-protective lab research and tests minimally invasive strategies for treating mitral valve disease and tricuspid valve replacement.

Exercise to keep your heart ticking

Don't let excuses get in the way

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We all know that exercise is a good thing for our health. But getting into a regular routine is often the first stumbling block. Once you overcome that, you’ll begin to realize the benefits of establishing and keeping to a successful exercise program.

According to University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center Cardiologist Dr. Sara Saberi, “For the general population, great things result from habitual exercise. Studies show that people who exercise actually live longer.” Continue reading

Heart patients ask: Is it safe for me to exercise?

heart patients and exrcise blog

It’s that time of year when many of us consider a renewed commitment to exercise and getting in shape. But if you have a heart condition, the decision to exercise might not be a matter of resolution. Instead, like many of my patients, you might be asking yourself: Is it safe for me to exercise?

Your ability to exercise depends on your diagnosis and should always be discussed with your healthcare provider. A patient with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, for example, typically has some restrictions on competitive exercise, though most habitual exercise-type activities would still be encouraged. Continue reading

Tips to keep you in shape this holiday season

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Do you approach the holiday season feeling overwhelmed by what needs to get done? There’s shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, parties … and more parties. Despite all these “to-dos,” there’s another essential thing that should top your list: exercise.

As the holiday season begins, it’s important to get the exercise you need for your physical and mental health. Although the American Heart Association recommends physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week, you can start out with something more “doable.” Try to fit in as much exercise as possible, with the realization that some exercise is better than none. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week is optimal. And, remember, now isn’t the time to set lofty goals for weight loss or working out, but to maintain your weight and do some form of exercise through the holidays.
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Fitness versus fatness: which matters more?

Two U-M experts weigh in on what the evidence tells us

scale2There is a longstanding debate in the research community about the importance of fitness versus fatness in health. Are exercise and improving fitness more important than eating well and maintaining a healthy weight?

Some researchers argue fatness does not affect health as long as you are fit, which means your heart and lungs are strong. And national campaigns like Let’s Move are focused on exercise for health without a specific focus on weight loss.

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Dementia and the benefits of nature: Walking

Walking is great exercise for people with dementia.

The naturalist and conservationist John Muir once said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” Muir proved to be prescient. Recent studies show that being in nature and exercising outdoors have positive benefits for everyone—including people with dementia. Exercising outdoors, in nature, is known as “green exercise.”

Benefits of green exercise for people with dementia

A research literature review published by Dementia Adventure points out that adults living with cognitive changes who participate in green exercise experience better sleep patterns; longer sleep duration; and improved continence, mobility and eating patterns.

One of the studies found that having a connection to nature can enhance verbal expression in people living with dementia. Another showed that nature-based activities for people living with dementia bring joy and sensory stimulation.

In fact, research during the last decade in particular has also demonstrated the following benefits for people with dementia:   Continue reading