How Exercise Can Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease | Revere Health

Last week, we discussed the importance of diet as a major preventive measure against potential heart diseases and conditions. Taking steps throughout our lives to make positive lifestyle choices is a huge part of keeping our hearts healthy. This helps prevent conditions that can be both life-threatening and costly.

One factor that we have the most control over is our level of exercise. Anything that gets us moving will get the heart pumping and promote its health. Exercise is key to helping stave off heart disease and stroke.

Here’s a look at exercise as it relates to heart health.

Types of Heart Healthy Exercise

There are a few common kinds of exercise that doctors generally recommend to help promote heart health. A few of these include:

 

  • Warm-up and stretching: These are vital no matter what kind of exercise you’re doing, and they can also be their own kinds of exercise. Many people do yoga and Pilates – stretching-based exercises – as a full workout, and this is great if it’s something you enjoy and can do regularly. For other kinds of exercise, be sure to properly warm up and loosen muscles. A proper warm-up will help prevent injury and keep you exercising right.
  • Aerobic exercise: Includes most forms of basic cardio. These exercises get your heart beating faster and help lower blood pressure. They can be as light as walking or hiking or as intense as skiing or dancing. Biking, swimming and rowing are also great aerobic exercises.
  • Strength exercise: This helps build your muscles and can make other forms of exercise easier on your body. Lighter weights are generally the way to go, and some people choose resistance bands. There are situations where very heavy weightlifting can actually increase blood pressure, so make sure to discuss your exercise plans with your doctor.

How Much?

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week, or five days with at least 30 minutes of activity. For those healthy enough, 75 minutes per week of high-intensity aerobics and two days of moderate- to high-intensity strength exercise is recommended.

For people who are looking primarily to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, 40 minutes of moderate-to-intense aerobic activity done three or four times a week is recommended. In each of these areas, your exact workload will depend on your comfort and other individual factors. Speak to your doctor if you have questions.

Positive Habits

A few good habits to keep in mind during exercise:

 

  • Warm up
  • Cool down
  • Don’t exercise within an hour of eating
  • Drink lots of water
  • Be persistent – working out can be tough at times, but it’s worth it
  • Alter your routine from time to time to keep things fresh
  • Important: Stop exercising and speak to your doctor if you feel chest pain or tightness or if you become dizzy or nauseous frequently during workouts. These might be signs of heart conditions that limit the exercises you can do

How Does It Help?

Following some of these tips can help your heart and overall health in the following ways:

 

  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Strengthen heart muscles and valves
  • Limit stress and improve mood
  • Improve sleep
  • Lower risk of heart disease and stroke

The right exercise for you might not be the same as for another person. Listen to your body and do what you’re comfortable with. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you have any specific questions or concerns.

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Sources:

“Get Moving for a Healthier Heart.” WebMDhttp://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/exercise-healthy-heart#1

“American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults.” American Heart Associationhttp://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#.WID4FRsrKUk

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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