Heart Disease – How might exercise lower your risk

What is Heart Disease?

There are a range of conditions that fall under the umbrella of heart disease that include: Blood vessel disease – coronary artery disease (CAD), heart rhythm issues (arrhythmias), and others. When one refers to heart disease, they might use “heart disease” or cardiovascular disease” interchangeably; however, it is important to recognize that cardiovascular disease refers to conditions that deal with the narrowing or blockage of blood vessels that can potentially lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke.

What are the Symptoms?

There are multiple symptoms that you will want to be aware of when it comes to heart disease. The following are the symptoms:

  • Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back

You may or may not be diagnosed with cardiovascular disease until you suffer from a heart attack, chest pain (angina), stroke, or heart failure. Therefore, it is important to be aware of and know what the symptoms are. It is recommended that you seek out a doctor if you are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, and/or fainting. It might seem obvious, but it is very important to seek attention early to height they chance to reduce your risk.

So, now that you have the basics on heart disease, why does exercise matter?

Your heart is a muscle, so exercise is necessary to strengthen your heart. Exercise can help your heart become stronger and healthier. According to the American Heart Association, 250,000 deaths per year in the United States can be linked to the lack of regular exercise. The lack of exercise heightens your risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity. So, the less physically active we get, we see a higher risk for heart disease.

So, we need to be physically active, but how much is enough?

According to the American Heart Association, if you are engaging in at least 30-minutes of exercise for 5 days per week, you will improve your heart health. Thus, exercise will help to reduce the risk of heart disease. There is not a specific recommendation on what you need to do, rather it is most important to get some type of exercise in. “Some is better than none,” might be a popular phrase that you have heard. It is true, to some degree. However, it is very important to keep in mind that your need to be engaged in QUALITY exercise. Not just going through the motions. For those who are more sedentary or less active, it is recommended to get at least several 10-minute bouts of exercise daily to get the recommended 150-minutes per week of exercise. BUT it is important to gain quality movement as you progress.

What is the take-away?

Exercising for at least 150-minutes per week will help you to get the appropriate amount of time necessary to combat heart disease. Exercise lead to a healthier heart. However, it is important to work toward quality exercise.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog on what exactly QUALITY exercise is.


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