In the UK around 7.6 million people are afflicted with heart and circulatory diseases, with 450 people dying every day as a consequence of these diseases. Therefore, it is really important to do as much as we can to fight this and prevent countless of preventable deaths while at the same time improving the quality of life for those diagnosed or at risk of heart disease. Regular exercise is a crucial tool that will stimulate a whole host of health-related benefits so follow on for Heart Disease: 5 Ways Exercise Can Prevent It!
1. Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension can damage major blood vessels leading to their narrowing caused by a build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances to form plaque in a process causing atherosclerosis. This can lead to the formation of blood clots and cause a heart attack. Regular physical activity has been shown to lower blood pressure, thus stopping the growth of plaque.
Studies have shown that regular exercise increases ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) levels and can lower ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) levels. An unhealthy build-up of LDL can clog your arteries potentially leading to a heart attack. On the other hand, HDL helps remove excess cholesterol therefore has a protective effect against heart disease.
3. Weight Loss
Being overweight can put excess stress on the heart as you need more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to your body which can dangerously elevate your blood pressure. Regular exercise can decrease fat mass while also increasing muscle mass and muscular strength, with studies showing a consequent decrease in the risk of all causes of mortality.
4. Improved Blood Flow
Fatty deposits can build up within blood vessels, creating blockages leading to poor blood circulation. As a result, a person may be more susceptible to suffering from heart attacks. However, regular exercise can prevent further development of these blockages while also forming new blood vessels which improves blood flow.
5. Stronger Heart (Better Exercise Efficiency)
Like all muscles, the heart gets stronger the more you exercise it. A stronger and healthier heart will pump out more blood per beat which is why athletes will often have low resting heart rates due to their more efficient hearts. In other words, if you can pump out the same amount of blood in less heartbeats then that significantly puts less strain and stress on your heart. Also, you will get less winded and tired during physical activity.
It is recommended that you should engage in at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 to 7 days a week. This can be anything from walking to cycling or swimming, literally anything that gets your body moving, gets your heart rate up, gets you at least a little sweaty, and burns calories.
Not only does regular exercise improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease, but it also reduces the risk of developing diabetes and suffering from a stroke. Even better are the ‘happy hormones’ (endorphins and serotonin) that will be released from your endocrine glands that will make you feel great, confident and focused. All these things considered, there is no better reason to get up and get moving!
Do you or anyone you know suffer from heart disease? What methods have worked best to manage or improve upon the condition? Let us know what they are in the comments below, and join in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!