Heart disease is the top killer of Americans, and many people are wondering what they can do to cut their risk of developing it. Fortunately, studies have shown that regular exercise is not only effective for preventing heart disease, but it can also reverse the risk factors. Regardless of whether you exercise for 30 minutes per day or do several miles at the gym every day, you can reap the benefits of exercise. However, it is always best to consult with your physician before you start any exercise program.
The heart is a muscle. It requires regular exercise just like all of the other muscles in the body. Muscles that are used on a regular basis will get stronger and healthier. However, if a muscle is not used regularly, then it will weaken. Your heart will have an easier time pumping blood throughout your body if it is exercised on a regular basis. Regular exercise also makes it easier for the blood to flow by keeping the arteries flexible.
Living a sedentary lifestyle is hazardous to one’s health. It is estimated that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to 250,000 deaths per year. A lack of exercise is one of the top heart disease risk factors. People who are sedentary are more likely to have a heart attack.
A study done by the University of South Carolina showed that men who were sedentary more than 23 hours out of the week were 64 percent more likely to die from heart disease than those who were only sedentary 11 hours of the week. People who are inactive are also more likely to develop other heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure. In fact, a study done by the University of Maryland Medical Center showed that people who are sedentary are 35 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure.
Regular exercise can help lower blood pressure. It stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which causes the blood vessels to dilate. This helps make it easier for the blood to circulate, which lowers blood pressure.
A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that woman who walk on a regular basis can increase their good cholesterol levels. This same study also showed that brisk walking regularly can reduce the risk of a coronary event. Additionally, exercise can benefit people who have already had a heart attack. One study showed that heart attack survivors who participate in regular exercise can reduce their risk of death by 20 to 25 percent.