Exercise and Heart Disease

exercise and heart diseaseHeart disease is the most common cause of death in all industrial societies including the United States and is becoming more prevalent. It is caused when the blood vessels that lead to the heart become narrow and aren’t able to supply enough oxygen to the heart itself. There are a number of things someone can do to lower their chances of developing heart disease including exercise.

How Exercise Prevents Heart Disease

There are a few risk factors that can make it more likely for someone to develop heart disease including high blood sugar levels and a high resting blood pressure. Having too much bad cholesterol can also put you at risk for heart disease as can being overweight. Researchers at West Virginia University wanted to see if there was a connection between aerobic exercise and a reduction in the risk factors for heart disease.

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To investigate this they did a study where they looked at medical data that had been collected on people who did aerobic exercise and what they found was that there was a significant trend that showed people who did aerobic exercise were less likely to develop heart disease.

They saw that people who did aerobic exercise were able to lower their blood sugar levels, resting blood pressure, bad cholesterol and body weight. This study suggests that aerobic exercise does have a big effect on many of the risk factors for heart disease.

All Kinds of Exercise Help

While a lot of studies have shown that exercise does have an effect on heart disease risk not as many have looked at the effects of different kinds of exercises or the best exercise intensity.

A study done at Harvard University wanted to look into the effects different exercise intensities have on heart disease risk and also the effects different kinds of exercises have on heart disease risk. This was a really large study that involved 44,452 men who reported to the researchers every 2 years for 12 years strait.

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During the course of this 12 year period 1,700 people were found to have developed heart disease.

Using all of this information the researchers were able to see that men who exercised regularly were less likely to get heart disease.

  • They also found that men who ran for at least 1 hour a week were 42% less likely to develop heart disease which shows a very significant effect that running has on heart disease risk.
  • Men who trained with weights for at least 30 minutes a week were found to be 23% less likely to develop heart disease which shows that weight training also has a significant effect on heart disease risk.
  • Researchers also found that a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes a week caused an 18% reduction in the risk for heart disease.
  • Apparently enough people in this study rowed for exercise for researchers to find that rowing for at least 1 hour a week also caused an 18% reduction in heart disease risk.

The best intensity of aerobic training in lowering heart disease risk was found to be a medium intensity although a high and low intensity were found to also be effective.

Recovering From Heart Problems

Not only is exercise important in preventing heart disease but it is also important in rehabilitating people who have been treated for heart disease. Researchers in Devon, England reviewed data that had been collected on 8,440 people to see how effective exercise was in helping people recover from heart surgery.

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After reviewing all of the data researchers were able to determine that people who exercised in order to recover from heart disease had their life expectancy increase by 27%. This shows that exercise is a very effective way of helping people recover from heart surgery.

Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your heart and hundreds of studies have proven this.

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