Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for over 17 million deaths each year. CVD is a broad term that encompasses a range of conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels, including coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure.
While there are some risk factors for CVD that cannot be modified, such as age and genetics, there are many lifestyle changes that can help to reduce the risk of developing CVD. One of the most important lifestyle changes is exercise.
The benefits of exercise for heart health are well-documented. Regular exercise can help to:
Strengthen the heart muscle, improve blood circulation, lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels, help to maintain a healthy weight, and reduce stress levels.
How much exercise do you need for a healthy heart: The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week, plus muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) on two or more days a week.
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity is defined as any activity that makes you breathe harder and your heart beat faster but still allows you to talk in complete sentences. Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activity include brisk walking, swimming, and biking.
Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity is defined as any activity that makes you breathe very hard and your heart beat very fast and makes it difficult to talk in complete sentences. Examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity include running, jogging, and playing sports such as tennis or basketball.
If you are new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you spend exercising each week. It is also important to choose activities that you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle.
Some tips for getting regular exercise: Find an activity that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle, Set realistic goals and start slowly, Gradually increase the amount of time you spend exercising each week, Find an exercise buddy or join a fitness class, Make exercise a part of your daily routine.
World Heart Day 2023 is a great opportunity to learn more about the importance of exercise for heart health and to make a commitment to getting regular exercise. Even a small amount of exercise can make a big difference in your heart health.
According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. It is estimated that physical inactivity is responsible for 6% of all deaths worldwide.
Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for a number of chronic diseases, including CVD, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Physical inactivity can also lead to mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.
The good news is that even small amounts of physical activity can have significant health benefits. For example, a study published in the journal Circulation found that adults who walked for just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, had a 20% lower risk of death from all causes than those who did not walk.
World Heart Day 2023 is a reminder that we all need to be more active. Even if you can only find a few minutes each day to exercise, it will make a difference in your heart health and overall well-being.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your heart health. It can help to strengthen your heart muscle, improve your blood circulation, and reduce your risk of developing CVD. If you are new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you spend exercising each week. Find an activity that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle. Even small amounts of exercise can make a big difference in your heart health.
(Dr Jayesh Bhaskaran, Senior Consultant Cardiologist, myHart Cardiac Care, Starcare Hospital, Calicut)