Heart Health and Exercise: It’s Never Too Late to Start

adc-heart-healthy-excercise

To protect your heart, the first step is to learn your own personal risk factors for heart disease. Risk factors are conditions or habits that make you more likely to develop a disease. Risk factors can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse.

Certain risk factors—like getting older or having a family history of heart disease—can’t be changed. But you do have control over some important risk factors such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, excess weight, diabetes and physical inactivity.
Many people have more than one risk factor. To safeguard your heart, it’s best to lower or eliminate as many as you can because they tend to “gang up” and worsen each other’s effects.

Your Heart Needs Exercise

Did you know that being physically inactive increases your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%?

Your heart is a muscle and needs exercise to help keep it fit so that it can pump blood efficiently around your body. Without regular physical activity, the body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function well.

Lifelong physical activity, such as a brisk walk for as little as 30 minutes a day, is important for:

  • Preventing heart disease
  • Lowering your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke
  • Helping to fight the battle to quit smoking
  • Aiding cardiac rehabilitation
  • Establishing good heart-healthy habits in children
  • Building stronger immunity
  • Reducing blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure
  • Helping to reduce stress, tension, depression and anxiety
  • Helping to control weight
  • Improving overall health and wellbeing, prolonging your optimal health.

For each hour of regular exercise you get, you’ll gain about two hours of additional life expectancy, even if you don’t start until middle age! Whatever type of activity you choose to do, the more you move the better

Getting Started

It’s never too late to start. Everyone can benefit from moving more – whatever your age, size or physical condition. The good news is that inactive people that start to do moderate physical activity feel the biggest health benefits – your health risks will decrease as soon as you start to move!

Getting started is easier than you think. Changing a few daily habits can soon add up to a more active you. Be active in as many ways as possible every day. Every 10 minutes counts. And if you don’t think you can squeeze anything else into your day, see if you can reduce the time you spend sitting still and free up time to be active.

  • Start in small amounts
  • Find an activity that you enjoy doing
  • Ask family or a friend to join you
  • Set yourself a realistic target to do a little exercise each day
  • Gradually increase the amount you are doing. Go for a little longer or a little further
  • Build up to 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.

For more information about your heart health, or about becoming a patient at ADC, visit our website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube Channel.

(Some information provided by the Heart Foundation).

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