The Heart Health Benefits Of Exercise
Exercise can help heart disease in the following ways:
- Exercise lowers blood pressure, reducing strain on the heart.
- Exercise increases good HDL cholesterol that transports fat away from the arteries and back to the liver for processing.
- Exercise may reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol that can form fatty deposits in the arteries and contribute to heart disease.
- Exercise improves circulation by preventing blood clots that can lead to heart attack and stroke.
- Exercise increases fat loss, aids weight-loss and builds muscle mass.
Regular exercise also reduces stress by releasing feel-good hormones called endorphins, while conversely stress and anxiety can elevate blood pressure and slow recovery from a heart attack.
Physical Activity Decreases Cardiovascular Risk Factors
Regular physical exercise is associated with numerous health benefits to reduce the progression and development of obesity, T2D, and CVD . Several randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that lifestyle interventions including moderate exercise and a healthy diet improve cardiovascular health in at-risk populations . Individuals with metabolic syndrome who participated in a 4 month program of either a diet or exercise intervention had reduced adiposity, decreased systolic, diastolic and mean arterial blood pressure, and lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol lipid profiles compared to the control group . Both the diet and exercise intervention improve these cardiovascular outcomes to a similar extent .
Exercise has a similar effect on cardiovascular improvements in lean and overweight normoglycemic subjects. In a 1 year study of non-obese individuals, a 1620% increase in energy expenditure with no diet intervention resulted in a 22.3% decrease in body fat mass and reduced LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL ratio, and C-reactive protein concentrations, all risk factors associated with CVD . In overweight individuals, 79 months of low-intensity exercise significantly increased cardiorespiratory fitness compared to sedentary individuals . Together these data indicate that exercise interventions decrease the risk or severity of CVD in subjects who are lean, obese, or have type 2 diabetes .
How Do You Know When Youre Making Progress
There are many ways to chart your exercise progress. Three of the most common are target heart rate for aerobic exercise, number of repetitions for weight training, and fat vs. muscle body composition.
- Target heart rate The more fit you are, the harder youll need to work to reach your target heart rate. For example, in the first month you may need to walk 3 mph to reach a heart rate of 120, while in the second month in order to reach the same heart rate, you need to walk 4 mph or find a steeper hill. Your fitness is improved and your heart is working more efficiently.
- Reps The more weight you can lift 12-15 times without straining, the stronger and more durable your muscles are. For example, you start out struggling to curl a 15-lb. dumbbell 15 times, and then add three to five pounds when it becomes easy.
- Body composition Exercise more and your body will change shape: youll lose fat, specifically around the waist, and gain muscle. A looser pair of pants or skirt is a distinct sign of progress.
Don’t Miss: Does Acid Reflux Cause Heart Palpitations
The Risks Of Lack Of Exercises
As earlier stated, up to 25,000 deaths, a year in the United States can be attributed to a lack of regular exercise. Living a sedentary or inactive lifestyle has always been one of the top five risk factors for heart disease. People with low fitness levels also experience a higher rate of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and death.
Furthermore, according to research from the University of South Carolina, men who reported more than 23 hours of sedentary activity per week had a 64% higher risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours. Inactivity also affects other risk factors for heart disease. For instance, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, sedentary people have a 35% higher risk of developing high blood pressure than physically active people.
Effects Of Exercise To Improve Cardiovascular Health
- Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH, United States
Obesity is a complex disease that affects whole body metabolism and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes . Physical exercise results in numerous health benefits and is an important tool to combat obesity and its co-morbidities, including cardiovascular disease. Exercise prevents both the onset and development of cardiovascular disease and is an important therapeutic tool to improve outcomes for patients with cardiovascular disease. Some benefits of exercise include enhanced mitochondrial function, restoration and improvement of vasculature, and the release of myokines from skeletal muscle that preserve or augment cardiovascular function. In this review we will discuss the mechanisms through which exercise promotes cardiovascular health.
Also Check: Does Acid Reflux Cause Heart Palpitations
How To Stick With An Exercise Routine
The key to a successful exercise routine is staying interested and motivated. Here are a few ways to keep exercise a lifelong habit:
- Set aside a specific amount of time each day for exercise and work it into your schedule. Work out with a friend. Or join a gym and work out in a group. Either scenario creates mutual support and healthy competition to keep things interesting. Keep a simple log to chart your progress. Create your own record or graph on a spreadsheet, or use one of the many programs available on the Internet. If you jog or cycle, use a heart rate meter or speedometer to help you set and reach goals.
How Much Should I Weigh
Talk to your family doctor about your ideal weight, because every person is different. If youre overweight, the extra pounds put extra stress on your heart. Losing weight can help your heart stay healthy. Remember that losing just 10% of your body weight will reduce your risks for diabetes and heart disease.
Also Check: How Accurate Is Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate
Modulation Of Autonomic Function
The autonomic nervous system, regulated by the hypothalamus, consists of sympathetic nervous system, parasympathetic nervous system, and enteric nervous system. The primary autonomic functions include cardiac regulation, control of respiration, and vasomotor activity, which act largely unconsciously . Exercise training has beneficial roles in autonomic function, as indicated by improved heart rate recovery and heart rate variability in various populations, such as in sedentary individuals and chronic heart failure patients . HRR refers to the declining rate of heart rate and is recognized as an indicator of cardiac prognosis . HRV is defined as consecutive heart beat variations in heart rate of sinus rhythm. Reduced HRV represents attenuation of autonomic regulation of sinoatrial node . Exercise works as an intervention for autonomic dysfunction in type 2 diabetes by preserving HRV, HRR, and baroreflex sensitivity . BRS is regulated by sympathetic and parasympathetic autonomic nerves and is downregulated when there is cardiac autonomic neuropathy .
What Should I Not Eat
A heart-healthy diet limits some nutrients. These include:
Sodium. Flavor foods with spices or no-salt seasonings instead of salt. Watch out for prepackaged foods, sauces, canned foods, and processed foods. They can all contain a high amount of sodium.
Saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in fatty meats, poultry skin, whole-milk dairy, butter, lard, and coconut and palm oils. Trans fats are found in some desserts, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, stick margarines, and coffee creamers. Look for the words partially hydrogenated oil on the food label.
Added sugar. Sweetened drinks, snacks, and sweet treats are the main source of added sugars in the United States. These include sodas, sweetened coffee and tea, energy drinks, cakes, pies, ice cream, candy, syrups, and jellies. Limit these types of foods and drinks.
Alcohol. Limit your intake of alcohol. Men should have no more than 2 drinks a day. Women should have no more than 1 drink per day. Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and cause you to gain weight. It can also contribute to or worsen heart failure in some people.
Recommended Reading: Does Acid Reflux Cause Heart Palpitations
Exercise Improves Mitochondrial Biogenesis And Function
Many of the benefits sustained by exercise are due to mitochondrial adaptations throughout the body. For example, exercise improves long-term cardiorespiratory fitness by increasing the mitochondrial content and desaturation of myoglobin in skeletal muscle tissue, improving the oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle . The increase of oxygen uptake and utilization by skeletal muscle in response to regular exercise is protective against a decrease in obesity-related a-vO2, resulting in individuals to require more blood to receive the same amount of oxygen .
Mitochondrial biogenesis is augmented in cardiomyocytes in response to exercise . This is likely due to enhanced activation of AMP-activated protein kinase and subsequent increase mitochondrial PGC-1 expression Exercise also increases the ability of mitochondria to oxidize fatty acids , thus increasing the capacity for ATP synthesis . These exercise-induced enhancements of mitochondrial function are important in preventing cardiovascular dysfunctions often caused by obesity.
The Danger Of Inactivity
According to the American Heart Association journal Circulation, as many as 250,000 deaths per year in the United States can be attributed to a lack of regular exercise. Living a sedentary, or inactive, lifestyle has consistently been one of the top five risk factors for heart disease. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity. Those with low levels of physical fitness also experience a higher rate of cardiovascular events, like heart attack and death.
According to research from the University of South Carolina, men who reported more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours. Inactivity also affects other risk factors for heart disease. For example, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, sedentary people have a 35 percent greater risk of developing high blood pressure than physically active people do.
You May Like: Does Acid Reflux Cause Heart Palpitations
How Exercise Reduces Chronic Disease
Its now generally accepted that lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, today chronic diseases are the most common, expensive and, critically, the most preventable of all health problems.
In fact, heart disease and cancer, both considered chronic diseases, accounted for 48 percent of all deaths in the United States in 2010.
Studies show that the fact that there is way too much sitting in our lives and were more sedentary than ever before doesnt help. This can lead to accumulation of intra-abdominal fat which is dangerous when it comes to disease risk.
Which common diseases can be eliminated or prevented through physical activity? Theres evidence suggesting that diseases that can be prevented by exercise include:
- Heart disease and markers, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance
What are the negative effects of lack of exercise?
As a 2017 report published by the American Physiology Society explains:
physical inactivity, itself, often plays an independent role as a direct cause of speeding the losses of cardiovascular and strength fitness, shortening of healthspan, and lowering of the age for the onset of the first chronic disease, which in turn decreases quality of life, increases health care costs, and accelerates mortality risk.
A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to health problems including:
What Type Of Exercise Should I Do
Anything that raises your heart rate counts.
Donât forget to think about what would be fun, too. Maybe you could do something you used to do or something you’ve always wanted to try.
Whatâs convenient for you is important, too. Do you need an at-home workout? Would you go to a gym if you joined? How about joining a recreational sports team, hiking group, or dance class? You’re more likely to stick with it if you enjoy it.
Here are some tips to help you make exercise a regular part of your routine:
Ban boredom. Pick a variety of activities that you like. Don’t do the same thing over and over.
Make playlists. Use music to keep you entertained.
Commit. You won’t always feel like it, and you’ll find all sorts of excuses not to do it. You’ll need to make a decision ahead of time and ignore that impulse and exercise anyway.
Socialize. Working out is more fun if you have a friend with you.
Stay within your budget. Donât buy expensive equipment or health club memberships unless you know youâll use them.
You May Like: Tylenol Heart Palpitations
How Hard Should I Work
A cardio workout is moderate if you can talk but not sing. You’re exercising vigorously if you can’t say more than a few words without taking a breath.
Ask your doctor if you should limit the intensity of your exercise. It’s much better to start out taking it easier and work up to more challenging workouts. Thatâll help prevent injury.
What Are The Heart Disease Risk Factors That I Cannot Change
- Age. Your risk of heart disease increases as you get older. Men age 45 and older and women age 55 and older have a greater risk.
- Sex. Some risk factors may affect heart disease risk differently in women than in men. For example, estrogen provides women some protection against heart disease, but diabetes raises the risk of heart disease more in women than in men.
- Race or ethnicity. Certain groups have higher risks than others. African Americans are more likely than whites to have heart disease, while Hispanic Americans are less likely to have it. Some Asian groups, such as East Asians, have lower rates, but South Asians have higher rates.
- Family history. You have a greater risk if you have a close family member who had heart disease at an early age.
Exercise And Heart Disease: 10 Ways Exercise Can Reduce Your Risk
You may know exercise is good for the heart, but did you know that lack of exercise is one of the risk factors for developing heart disease? Several years ago, the American Heart Association added inactivity to its list of risk factors, which also includes family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. In honor of American Heart Month, try to include at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as walking or gardening, on most days of the week. If you cant fit in a single session, split up your activity into three 10-minute blocks spread throughout your day.And, of course, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Also be sure to check out our heart attack calculator to assess your risk.
Blood Viscosity Platelet Aggregation And Thrombosis Profile
Blood viscosity in normal conditions is like a Newtonian fluid which is influenced by hematocrit, shear rate of blood flow, vascular caliber, and temperature. Elevated blood viscosity which is associated with blood resistance increases risks of cardiovascular complications. Blood viscosity is decreasing during exercise accompanied by decreased systemic vascular resistance . More nitric oxide is produced attributed to greater shear stress in exercise and promote vasodilation . During exercise, erythrocyte volume is slightly increased; however, a much higher increase of plasma volume is generated which finally results in lower blood viscosity. Decline in plasma fibrinogen level is observed under the effect of exercise which plays important roles in declining erythrocyte aggregation and decreasing blood viscosity .
Also Check: Does Tylenol Raise Blood Pressure And Heart Rate
Ideal Exercise For The Heart
The best exercise has a positive effect on the heart and improves the skeletmuscular system.
The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine both recommend combining aerobic exercise with resistance training . Together, these two categories of exercise produce the greatest benefit for preventing and managing heart disease.
Exercise Helps Strengthen Muscles
A combination of aerobic workouts and strength training isconsidered best for heart health. These exercises improve the musclesability to draw oxygen from the circulating blood. That reduces the needfor the hearta muscular organ itselfto work harder to pump more blood tothe muscles, whatever your age.
Recommended Reading: Does Tylenol Increase Heart Rate
How To Exercise If You Have Heart Problems
For exercise to be effective it needs to raise your heart beat. While for the general population this is a good thing, people with heart problems need to take care not to put the heart under too much pressure. To get started try the following:
To minimise any strain on your heart, start slowly, build up to a maximum pace and then slow down before the end of the session. Keep to a moderate intensity so you can still talk while you exercise.
Always warm up at the start of a session, and take time to cool down at the end with some simple stretches.
If you exercise regularly it will be making you healthier. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to see weight loss. Many of the benefits of exercise are not related to losing weight.
You will quickly begin to notice that you feel fitter and can walk up stairs and hills more easily or go a bit further than you used to.