Column: Exercise is the key to avoiding heart disease

Published 1:16 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2006

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 given to me by a coworker reiterates the importance of exercise and it's 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 workout five days a week, because about 15 weeks ago, God got his attention.
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 done 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.
Thought of the week: The hopeful man sees success where others see failure, sunshine where others see shadows and storms. - Orison Swett Marden
Amy McKean is the adult programs director of the Niles-Buchanan YMCA. She can be reached at