You have been meaning to squeeze a little cardiovascular exercise into your daily routine, but you just haven’t gotten around to it. After all, you eat a balanced diet, watch your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and maintain a relatively healthy body weight, so your heart is in good hands, right?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Sports Medicine (ASM), and the American Heart Association, active individuals tend to develop less coronary artery disease (CAD) – the most common cause of heart attacks – than those who lead sedentary lives. Despite this knowledge, less than one-third of Americans meet the minimal recommendations for daily physical activity. Place what the daily recommendations are
So let’s get moving!
Whether you are going for a jog or participating in a local Zumba class, physical fitness can help decrease your risk of heart disease by 20% to 60%, depending on how hard, how long, and how often you work out.
Here are some reasons why:
The more pressure blood exerts on artery walls, the harder the heart has to work. However, every time you exercise, your heart muscle gets stronger. A stronger heart has an easier time pumping, which relaxes the arteries and creates more room for blood to flow.
If you have high levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in your blood, then those fats may start building up on artery walls, which restricts blood flow and raises blood pressure. An increase in HDL cholesterol, though, prevents the fatty buildup from sticking to the walls. Studies show conclusively that exercise lowers triglycerides and raises HDL levels.
Diabetes and heart disease often go hand in hand, so helping your body regulate insulin levels is definitely a good thing. Aerobic exercise increases your muscles’ ability to utilize glucose, so you can better control your blood sugars and avoid blood sugar swings.
The more weight you carry around, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood through your body. In fact, your heart actually has to increase in size as you gain weight just to keep up with demand. As you exercise, you are burning fat and calories, dropping weight, and strengthening your heart muscles. Even a decrease of 10 to 20 pounds is enough to give your heart a well-deserved break.
Changing from a sedentary life to an active lifestyle is not something that happens overnight, so the experienced team at Cardiac Solutions recommends starting out small. Maybe take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk somewhere instead of drive. A few short bursts – 10 minutes or so – of activity a few times a day can make a world of difference. Work your way up to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 – 5 days a week, and you will be well on your way to improving your cardiovascular health.