Why Is Physical Activity So Important In Preventing Heart Disease

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Being active is key to warding off many deteriorating diseases such as heart disease. In our daily routine, we may forget to take the necessary steps to keep ourselves fit and healthy. This could prove disastrous in the long run as it can lead to serious health conditions developing. Heart disease is perhaps the most probable and also the most dangerous to develop as a result of an inactive lifestyle. Heart disease, once developed, cannot be reversed; however, there is plenty we can do to prevent it from occurring.

We consulted a panel of health and fitness experts to discuss the importance of physical activity in preventing heart disease.

Jeff Hong, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist RDN. Chief Product Manager of Fitness Gear Brand yanrestrength.com 

The major contributing factors to heart disease that exercise can ameliorate have to do with atherosclerosis and blockage of the artery. Physical activity in both cases can attenuate the development of arterial blockage. Positive shear stress from exercise down-regulates gene expression related to atherosclerotic development, lowering the oxidative stress and fatty plaque buildup associated with poor diet and inactivity. 

Additionally, it’s associated with a reduced hardness of the arteries, which is partially thanks to the process I briefly overviewed. It also elicits hormone responses that lower blood pressure (helping attenuate heart disease) and stimulate the growth of angiogenesis, allowing blood to travel to the heart if a blockage is already present or just allow more effectively for lower blood pressure due to more avenues of travel for blood. 

I’ll also mention that exercise ameliorates several other diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, which can lead to a weaker vascular system and heart disease.

Claudia Hleap, MS, RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition. She is also the Owner of Hleap Nutrition, a nutrition practice in Philadelphia, and has many years of experience providing nutrition counseling for diabetes and weight management. According to Claudia…

The American Heart Association recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75  minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week. Additionally, this regimen should also include at least two days of strength training and reduced time spent sitting throughout the day. This was shown to lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, multiple types of cancer, and complications during pregnancy.

Other benefits include improved sleep, cognition, bone health, quality of life, and reduced symptoms of depression. 

Dr. Zachary Okhah is the Founder and Chief Surgeon at PH-1 Miami. According to Dr. Zachary…

Because the heart is a muscle, it benefits from exercise just as any other muscle in our body. Regular physical activities involving rhythmic movement of the arms and legs condition the heart to pump blood through the whole body efficiently. Regular exercise also keeps the arteries and other blood vessels flexible for better blood flow and healthy blood pressure.

It can also reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood- low-density lipoprotein (LDL)- and raise the level of good cholesterol- high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL collects in the walls of your blood vessels. It is the primary source of artery-clogging plaque and raises your chances of heart attack or stroke. 

On the other hand, HDL helps remove other forms of cholesterol from the blood, and having a healthy level of HDL may protect you against heart attack or stroke. 

Brian Paonessa is the Founder & CEO of Fit Functional Nurses. Brian Paonessa has over a decade’s experience in the fitness world. With a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness, Paonessa worked in gyms and wellness centers in some of New York’s most notable neighborhoods. According to Brain… 

Exercise helps build muscles, which is one reason why physical activity may help avoid illnesses.

For heart health, a mix of aerobic exercises (which may include walking, jogging, swimming, and other strenuous heart-pumping exercise depending on your fitness level) and strength training (weight lifting, resistance training) is recommended. These workouts increase the muscles’ capacity to absorb oxygen from the bloodstream. Whatever your age, this minimizes the need for the heart—a muscular organ—to work harder to pump more blood to the muscles.

Marc Chartouni is a fitness expert and founder of Barbell Jack.  He has years of experience helping people reach their personal health goals and knows a lot about the positive effects of being physically active. According to Marc…

Heart disease can develop from issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. These ailments can be helped through a proper diet and physical activity. 

Being active helps to keep body weight within a healthy range, as well as to decrease hypertension and cholesterol and increase our good cholesterol. Physical activity also helps strengthen the heart muscle, which helps pump blood to our lungs and throughout our bodies.

This is important to maintain healthy well-being and keep our heart working as it should. 

Practicing regular physical activity is very important in deterring the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and should be included in your daily routine. It is key to find something you enjoy doing so you continue to partake in it and not quit. Aerobic exercise is especially good for the heart and can be safely enjoyed by a variety of ages.