When was the last time you exercised? If you’re scratching your head trying to remember you could be putting your heart at risk. Exercise continues to make headlines as more and more research comes about revealing the endless benefits it provides to overall health, and in particular to the heart.
The latest findings are published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology which reveals that exercise is the most critical thing you can do in order to boost cardiovascular health and maintain a strong, healthy heart.
Researchers found that small amounts of physical activity – standing included – reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease but the more physical activity you perform the greater the risk is reduced. Editor-in-Chief Valentin Fuster, M.D said, “The evidence with regard to exercise continues to unfold and educate the cardiovascular clinical community. The greatest benefit is to simply exercise, regardless of the intensity, while the danger is two-fold: to not exercise at all or to exercise intensely, without due preparation.”
Numerous studies have highlighted the fact that exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and yet only half of American adults are partaking in the recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of intense exercise.
What the researchers found was exercise – either moderate or vigorous – below the recommended amounts was still effective in reducing a person’s risk of mortality due to cardiovascular disease. Increasing the amount of physical activity a person partakes in continues to reduce the risk of mortality and vigorous activity is more beneficial than moderate.
Some studies have revealed that too much exercise or prolonged high intensity workouts may actually harm the heart in equal affect as not being physically active at all. “The public media has embraced the idea that exercise may harm the heart and disseminated this message, thereby diverting attention away from the benefits of exercise as a potent intervention for the primary and secondary prevention of heart disease,” explained Michael Scott Emery, M.D., co-chair of the ACC Sports and Exercise Cardiology Council.
Furthermore, patients with cardiovascular disease benefit greatly from exercise but many of them do not partake in outpatient programs. Emery added, “The available evidence should prompt clinicians to recommend strongly low and moderate exercise training for the majority of our patients. Equally important are initiatives to promote population health at large through physical activity across the life span, as it modulates behavior from childhood into adult life.”
The message overall is quite clear – the best thing you can do for your heart is exercise, the better news is that you don’t have to complete marathons to receive the benefits. In fact choosing to stand as oppose to sit is a great start to get moving and begin protecting your heart.