5 ways cardiovascular exercise can improve heart healthJanuary 26, 2018 | by Jerrad Guenther
About 2.4 million Canadian adults are living with heart disease. It's the second leading cause of death in Canada, claiming about 40,000-50,000 lives per year.
So what can you do to reduce your risk?
Exercise is one of the best (and safest!) ways to help prevent the onset of heart disease.
Paired with diet and other healthy lifestyle choices, exercise plays a key role in keeping your heart healthy. In a study of sedentary adults, those who went from zero activity to one hour a week reduced their risk of heart disease by almost half.
So what is so great about exercise? Here’s five ways cardiovascular exercise can benefit your heart:
1. Reduces high blood pressure
High blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. If left untreated, it can cause fatal damage to the arteries and heart. Regular cardiovascular exercise (getting your heart rate up!) makes your heart stronger and able to pump more blood with less effort. When your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, your blood pressure lowers. Only 10 minutes of walking daily can reduce high blood pressure by 12%!
2. Improves blood circulation
Sending blood to all parts of your body at various intensities will have a great impact in maintaining or improving the flow of all blood vessels in the body. Increasing blood flow improves cognitive processing in the brain and overall, helps us feel better.
3. Reduces high cholesterol
As resting blood pressure rises, so does your risk for heart disease. For most people, exercise can be more effective than surgical stents for helping reduce blockages in arteries.
4. Reduces stress
Whether it’s promoting a positive state of mind through physiological changes or enabling you to do your activities of daily living without exhaustion, reduction of stress will take many forms of relief.
5. Helps us maintain a healthy weight
Regular exercise, paired with mindful eating are the two key components to maintain a healthy weight and body composition. This alone can reduce your risk for developing many health conditions, mainly cardiovascular disease.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The bottom line—get out and be active. The Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. This could mean taking a 30 minute walk daily with your spouse, pre-booking a sports activity with friends, or signing up for an exercise class at your local fitness center.
Not sure where to start? Fortius offers a weekly coach-supervised, low-impact training session called LifelongSTRONG. These sessions incorporates resistance training, balance, core stability and flexibility to build total body strength and wellness.
The program is recommended for clients graduating from the Fraser Health Authority’s Healthy Heart program, as well as anyone looking to maintain or improve their cardiovascular and physical health in a low-impact environment.
Visit our LifelongSTRONG to learn more or call 604.292.2502 to register!
Join the conversation! February is National Health Month in Canada. Visit Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation to learn more.
For more information on the overall benefits of exercise check out this awesome short film by Dr. Mike Evans. The statistics in our article are taken from his evidence based presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUaInS6HIGo&feature=youtu.be