Sally Perkins explains why regular exercise is right for your heart.
Heart disease is rife in the UK with more than 7 million people living with cardiac disease according to the British Heart Foundation. Although we cannot control all of the risk factors for cardiac disease, including genetics, age, and gender, we can actively make changes to our lifestyle that will give our hearts a much-needed health boost. While it has become common knowledge that what we eat can have a direct impact on our cardiac health, the importance of exercise is often still undermined. By engaging in regular cardio and strength exercises, can benefit your heart in several ways which include, but are not limited to, the following:
Aerobic exercise can lower your blood pressure
High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for cardiac disease. When your blood pressure remains high for a prolonged period, your blood vessels can become severely damaged, increasing your possibility of having a heart attack. Regular aerobic exercise has a similar effect as a beta-blocker on your body, slowing down your heart rate while lowering your blood pressure simultaneously while also raising the good HDL cholesterol levels according to Dr Nieca Goldberg, medical doctor, and cardiologist at the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health. In people who don't display symptoms of high blood pressure, exercise can help to prevent hypertension from setting in. Depending on your level of fitness you can choose from a range of aerobic exercises to engage in such as swimming, jogging, cycling, dancing, and kickboxing.
Exercise can make your heart muscle stronger
Exercise strengthens all the muscles in the body, including the heart. The left heart ventricle is responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood from the heart into the rest of the body. You can initiate a minor increase in the size of the left ventricle by engaging in regular exercise. This augmentation will make it easier for the heart to supply blood to the various muscles, organs, and nervous systems in the body that are required for healthy living.
Resistance training can help keep your weight under control
There is no denying that excess weight puts extra strain on the heart. By partaking in regular exercise and following a healthy diet, you can shed some extra weight while increasing your lean muscle mass – both to the benefit of your heart. The NHS recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise such as walking, cycling, or swimming a week coupled with strength exercises at least two days a week. Don't overdo it with the exercise though as too much too soon can also be detrimental to your health. Resistance exercises such as lunges, squats, planks, leg lifts, and push-ups can all help increase your muscle mass further, which will further help to keep your weight under control.
The heart is undeniably the most vital of all organs and should be treated as such. While cardiac disease can sometimes be attributed to risk factors beyond our control, it can also largely be prevented by adhering to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity. By taking care of your heart, your heart will continue to take care of you well into your old age.
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About the Author
Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years' experience across many different areas. She made a move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family, and travelling as much as possible.