Column: Do your heart a favor, exercise

Published 7:53 am Tuesday, March 9, 2004

By Staff
A sedentary lifestyle is a top risk factor for heart disease. Unlike many diseases, heart disease is one you can do something about and help prevent. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can do wonders for this problem.
Benefits of exercise on the heart:
As we exercise the heart becomes stronger so it can pump more blood through the body and sustain its maximum level with less strain. The resting heart rate of those who exercise is slower than those who do not exercise because there is less effort needed to pump blood. Exercise helps improve heart health in people with many forms of heart disease.
Some effects of exercise and heart disease:
People who maintain a healthy and active lifestyle have about a 45 percent lower risk of developing heart disease than do sedentary people.
Aerobic exercise in combination with a healthy diet may improve blood-clotting factors.
Weight training offers a complementary benefit by reducing LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) levels.
Exercising and eating well can decrease the risk of clogged arteries.
Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system
Reduce risk of obesity and high blood pressure - related to heart disease.
Helps reduce body fat.
Helps reduce stress, tension, anxiety and depression.
Improves sleep.
Boosts self-esteem and self-image.
Builds up your energy levels so you can do more activities without becoming tired or short of breath.
An article that was given to me by a co-worker reiterates the importance of exercise and its positive effects on heart disease:
Your exercise schedule is a good predictor of how long you'll live, according to researchers at Stanford University. Orlando Rodriguez is trying to put advice into practice. He tries to work out five days a week, because about 15 weeks ago God got his attention.
He also got a serious directive from his doctors: "They told me that my longevity was determined by the amount of workout that I would do."
The benefit of exercise for heart patients has long been known. But the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, says fitness is the strongest predictor of how long you'll live, compared to any of the other risk factors that researchers checked. That includes smoking, heart trouble, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Six thousand men were studied for 10 years. Those who increased their exercise capacity, increased their chances of living by about 12 percent. The Stanford study also verified the greatest percentage benefit of exercise comes when you go from being sedentary to a beginning level of activity.
(Excerpts taken from an article by Stuart Shepard.)
Heart disease is a serious problem that can affect any of us. By watching what we eat and having a regular fitness schedule we lower our risk of heart disease tremendously.
Come in and sign up for the Adult Co-ed Summer Softball League
Thought of the week: The hopeful man sees success where others see failure, sunshine where others see shadows and storms. - Orison Swett Marden