The Best Medicine for Your Heart Health

Within the past decade, physical activity has emerged as a key factor in the prevention and management of chronic conditions. Exercise has many health benefits including reductions in premature mortality, cardiovascular disease risk, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus and improved mental health.  Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your heart health, along with having a heart healthy diet. Exercise has been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve functional capacity in people with known coronary artery disease and improve cholesterol.

Do you have high blood pressure?

Exercise in an important component for controlling blood pressure along with having a heart healthy diet. Exercise has shown reductions in blood pressure in those who are hypertensive with decreases in approximately 5-7 mmHg when regularly engaging in endurance exercise. Endurance exercise has also shown to prevent the development of hypertension.

Do you have coronary artery disease (CAD)?

Exercise training has shown reductions in symptoms and an improvement in functional capacity in patients with coronary artery disease. Designed exercise programs, such as cardiac rehabilitation, are ideal for people with CAD because they have shown to improve physical and mental health.

Do you have high cholesterol?

Aerobic exercise has shown to decrease or maintain total cholesterol while decreasing LDL, also known as the “bad cholesterol.” Exercise is one of the best ways to increase your HDL, also known as the “good cholesterol.” HDL moves excess cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream back to the liver where it is broken down and eliminated. The goal is to increase your HDL because it lowers your risk of developing plaque in your arteries.

If you have any of these conditions, be sure to contact your medical provider before engaging in a regular exercise program to make sure it is safe for you.