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Exercise and Heart Health

two women doing sit ups

If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease or are at risk of developing heart disease, regular exercise is essential for the health of your heart, body and mind. In fact, aerobic exercise and heart health really do go hand-in-hand.

Before jumping into your gym shoes, however, talk to your doctor about your desires and objectives. Your doctor may be able to give you some useful insights you didn’t consider as well as coaching from a medical point of view.

If your doctor gives you the OK, try to work some exercise into your daily routine. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests, for example, that patients start by walking five minutes a day, then increasing gradually to 30 minutes over several weeks. Walking is a wonderful way to start, as it is low impact, you need no special equipment, and it costs nothing.

Swimming may be another good choice. This type of exercise is called aerobic training that involves large muscle groups, such as the legs, and keeps your heart rate pumping for a set amount of time. Unless there are deformities of the heart muscle, aerobics and heart health are often intertwined and not only does the heart benefit, there are other physical advantages too.

The AHA has now added “lack of exercise” to the list of major risk factors for heart disease. The other risk factors are smoking, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol.

Exercise not only helps fight heart disease and gets you in shape, but if you live a sedentary lifestyle, a regular exercise routine can also:

  • help control high blood pressure
  • reduce the risks of type II diabetes
  • help prevent osteoporosis
  • improve your general wellbeing and help fight depression, anxiety and stress
  • greatly help to lose weight