EXERCISE and YOUR HEART
Physical activity is good for your heart. This message is one that must have reached almost everyone but is it a message that many of us choose to ignore? Maybe we hear it so often that it just washes over us and we ignore it, as was the case with the early heavy advertising about AIDS and safe sex. It may simply be that for those of us that are couch potatoes, the very thought of ‘physical activity’ is quite off-putting! Or for many of us with busy lives, just the thought of trying to fit in time for ‘exercise’ is exhausting!
Maybe it’s the words ‘exercise’ and ‘physical activity’ that put us off because they conjure up visions of fit, lithe people visiting a rather expensive gym three times a week! Perhaps the messages would be more effective if they excluded the words ‘physical activity’ and ‘exercise’ and simply encouraged us to introduce more activity into our existing lives so we actually achieve greater activity and the health benefits almost without realising it!
According to the British Heart Foundation, although 7 out of 10 adults in the UK do not take enough regular exercise to achieve health benefits to protect their heart but 8 out of 10 adults actually think that they are fit.
So what are the benefits for you from taking more exercise?
- Physical activity halves the risk of developing coronary heart disease.
- In people that have already had heart attacks, those who have been physically active are twice as likely to survive the heart attack compared to those people who have not been active.
- Physical activity reduces the risk of having a stroke, helps to lower blood pressure.
- It reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
- It helps to reduce weight in people that are overweight or obese.
- It can help to relieve stress, make you feel better and it can be enjoyable.
- There is no level of activity that has to be achieved to gain health benefits.
- The largest gain in health benefits from increasing physical activity levels, is in people who are inactive and who start to take regular exercise or physical activity eg walking, cycling, dancing or swimming.
The Major Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease are:
- High Blood Pressure
Blood clots require urgent treatment