Deblois’ high-energy how-to debut aims to lay the groundwork for a healthier lifestyle.
In 1971, when the author’s father—a lean, active 56-year-old—suffered a massive stroke due to a blood clot in his left carotid artery, his blood pressure was an astounding 320/180. The doctor warned that Deblois and his brother (both in their early 30s at the time) could suffer the same genetic fate. In 2003, unfortunately, Deblois’ brother went into a clot-induced coma at the age of 62. Hoping to avoid a similar tragedy, the author started checking his own blood pressure regularly, noting decreases in his diastolic and systolic readings when he weight-trained. Now, at 73, the former high school physical-education instructor and coach continues to weight-train and claims to be in optimal health. Deblois doesn’t offer safety guidelines for weight-training exercises; however, he does provide a wellspring of information here, clearly warning readers of the dangers of high blood pressure and detailing the benefits of a comprehensive cardiovascular program of exercise. He points out, for example, that increased blood flow to the heart lessens the risk of clotting. At times, the book reads much like an introductory health course, describing how to take one’s own pulse and blood pressure and measure one’s “BMI,” or Body Mass Index. In Deblois’ discussion of combining weight-training with endurance training, he claims that five or six hours of “reasonable” effort per week can reduce systolic pressure by 50 points or more, and diastolic pressure by 30 points or more. His tone is scholarly yet congenial as he notes such things as basic diet guidelines; he suggests that one’s daily calorie intake should include no more than 25 to 30 percent fat. He also summarizes weight-training principles such as breathing and recovery and offers illustrated exercise instructions that compare a regular bench press with a decline bench press, for example. The author’s sample program, however, uses machines such as the leg press, so it may not work for readers with little money or access to gyms. However, his principles may be adjusted to fit most lifestyles. Overall, this dynamic instruction guide highlights preventive rather than palliative exercise as the key to good cardiovascular health.An accessible compendium of inspiration for serious exercise novices.