You know that a healthy diet and lifestyle are key parts of helping you avoid heart disease – the No. 1 cause of death in America.
Your diet is under control, but U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends adults commit to either 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, or a combination of both.
So why is exercise so important to heart health?
According to the American Heart Association, HHS' recommendations for moderate- and vigorous-aerobic activity, along with muscle-strengthening activity, will help improve overall cardiovascular health.
If you have high blood pressure and cholesterol, the AHA recommends that you get 40 minutes of aerobic activity (either moderate or vigorous) three or four times weekly.
Moderate and vigorous physical activity benefits your heart health in several ways:
• Your heart muscle gets stronger, allowing it to more effectively pump blood to your muscles, lungs and throughout your body.
• Your capillaries widen, allowing more blood to get to your body.
• Your blood oxygen levels increase.
• Your blood pressure and triglyceride levels can be lowered, while good cholesterol levels rise.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute also reports that moderate and vigorous activity can lower your risk for coronary heart disease and reduce your risk for heart attacks.
The takeaway? Athletes and non-athletes alike have the power to create positive change in their bodies.
A Subtle Clue
After your exercise, does your heart pound for hours, or are you taking a nap five minutes later? Turns out, how quickly you return to your resting heart rate says a lot about your health. If you're very fit, your heart rate soon returns to normal.
Middle-aged men in average health experience about a 15 to 20 beat per minute drop in heart rate after they stop exercising. But, if your heart rate recovers at less than about 12 beats per minute, you may want to ask your doctor about your cardiac health.
If you're concerned about your heart health, quality cardiovascular care is right around the corner at Northwest Cardiology – Siloam Springs. To schedule an appointment, call (479) 215-3060. To find a primary care physician near you, visit http://www.nw-physicians.com today.
BY SILOAM SPRINGS REGIONAL HOSPITAL