Exercise And Heart Health

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Exercise And Heart Health

The heart is the organ that has the responsibility to pump blood throughout the body. As the heart is a muscle it needs exercise to be healthy. For this reason exercise and heart health go hand in hand.

Lack of exercise is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It is therefore crucial to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine to reduce the chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke. The exercise that you need to take part in should be some form of aerobic exercise.

Aerobic exercise and heart health is what people mean when they say you should exercise for a healthy heart. Aerobic exercise, also known as cardiovascular exercise, is simply exercise that makes use of oxygen. This type of exercise has low intensity but is done over a long period of time. Therefore to take part in exercise and heart health to be the result, you need to perform activities such as brisk walking, jogging, aerobics and any other low intensity, steady exercise.

Exercise and heart health are inseparable because exercise:

Makes the heart and cardiovascular system stronger – Like any other muscle, exercise makes the heart grow bigger and stronger. When the heart gets stronger, it is able to pump more blood with every beat. This means the heart is more efficient.

Exercise will also improve the blood flow to and from the heart as the coronary vessels are able to dilate efficiently.

Lowers blood pressure – As there is improvement in the dilation of the coronary blood vessels, there is less pressure within the walls of these blood vessels.

Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) – Bad cholesterol is responsible for building up plaque (fat deposits) in the coronary blood vessels, which is one of the causes of coronary heart disease.. Exercise helps reduce this bad cholesterol, which means the heart can pump blood at lower pressure. This means that less stress is put on the heart.

Other benefits of exercise include fat loss, weight loss, stress relief, increases energy levels, strengthens bones, increases endurance, fitness and flexibility and improves sleep.

There are a number of simple things that can be done for exercise and heart health.

Walk up a flight of stairs instead of taking the lift.

Play with your children.

Do some housework (vacuuming can be a very good heart friendly exercise).

Take up pilates or yoga.

Join a gym.

Exercise and heart health will only work if the exercise is done regularly for sufficient periods of time. The recommended amount of physical activity is 30 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise 4 or 5 times a week. If you do not time for that, you can fit in 3 or 4 ten minute exercise intervals throughout your day.

Before embarking on any exercise program, it is vital to consult your doctor.