7 Heart-Smart Reasons to Exercise Regularly


19 May, 2018


You might know that, regular exercise is great for your heart and is the best medicine which has the benefit of not just preventing heart disease but reversing it, as well.

Find out how just 30 minutes of exercise each day improves your heart health.

1. Exercise lowers blood pressure.  If you have high blood pressure, you’re at a greater risk for developing heart disease. Exercise strengthens your heart, which means your heart doesn’t have to work hard to supply blood and oxygen throughout your body. When your heart isn’t working as hard, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure.

2. Exercise helps control weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease. Carrying too much weight especially around your waist puts you at an increased risk. Regular exercise when coupled with a smart diet, cannot just help you in losing weight but also help in keeping it off.

3. Exercise helps achieve healthy cholesterol levels. Your cholesterol levels are an important measure of heart health. There are three main levels which doctors monitor-- triglycerides, HDL or "good" cholesterol and LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. HDL helps prevent excess cholesterol from building up in your arteries and causing dangerous blockage. High triglycerides and LDL levels can increase your risk of heart disease.

Exercise helps in lowering triglycerides and, increasing HDL cholesterol. Exercise when combined with dietary changes and weight loss can reduce LDL levels as well.

4. Exercise can prevent or slow the onset of diabetes. If you have diabetes, you are more likely to develop coronary heart disease than someone without diabetes. Exercise is useful for those with diabetes because it improves insulin sensitivity by helping the cells of the body in using available insulin. Exercise also allows the cells to use glucose for energy, thereby controlling blood glucose levels which when impaired, leads to excessive blood sugars (diabetes).  

5. Exercise strengthens your muscles.  Your heart and blood vessels are responsible for getting oxygen to your muscles and the rest of your body. Exercise improve the muscles’ ability to draw oxygen from the circulating blood. That reduces the need for the heart—a muscular organ itself—to work harder to pump more blood to the muscles.

6. Exercise lowers stress. When you are stressed your body releases the stress hormone adrenaline, which causes your heart to beat faster, increases your blood pressure, leads to the narrowing of the coronary arteries and other blood vessels in various parts of the body. Exercise—whether aerobic (like running), resistance-oriented (like weight training) or flexibility-focused (like yoga)— releases endorphins — “feel-good” hormones that can help you reduce stress — which in turn lowers your risk for heart disease.

7. Exercise helps you sleep better. People who do not sleep enough are at increased risk for heart disease. Short sleep — less than six hours each night seems to be especially risky for your heart health. Physical activity improves sleep quality and increases sleep duration.  Aim to get between seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night.

If it's been awhile since you've exercised or if you have health concerns, it's always good to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program

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