Heart disease risk may be lowered with recreational and commuter biking. In the study involving 45,000 Danish adults, the researchers found that regular cyclists who biked for pleasure or for their commute had 11 to 18 percent fewer heart attacks during the 20-year follow-up.
Furthermore, half an hour of cycling weekly provided some protection against coronary artery disease, and individuals who took up biking during the first five years of the follow-up period had a 25 percent lower risk of heart disease, compared to those who did not bike during the following 15 years.
The researchers estimate that about seven percent of the 2,892 heart attacks that occurred during the 20 years could have been preventing by biking.
Lead author Kim Blond explained, “Because recreational and commuter biking is an easy way to make physical activity part of one’s routine in a non-structured and informal fashion, based on the results, public health authorities, governments, and employers ought to consider initiatives that promote bicycle riding as a way to support large-scale cardiovascular disease prevention efforts.”
Non-bikers were more likely to be obese and have high cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels.
Senior author Paul Franks added, “We found active commuting, which has the additional advantages of being time efficient, cheaper, and environmentally friendly, is also great for your health. The multiple advantages of active commuting over structured exercise may help clinicians convey a message that many patients will embrace more readily than being told to join a gym, go for a jog, or join a sports team.”
Additionally, active biking could help prevent 24 percent of obesity cases, six percent of hypertension cases, 13 percent of high cholesterol cases, and 11 percent of diabetes cases.
Franks concluded, “The really good news here is that it’s never too late to benefit from an active lifestyle. People who switched from passive to active commuting saw considerable gains in their cardiovascular health.”
The heart is a muscle, and just like any other muscle in your body it can be strengthened through diet and exercise. Without a healthy lifestyle, your heart can become weak and hence more susceptible to danger and illness, so it’s important to partake in cardio exercises in order to keep it strong for years to come. Exercise of any kind can be effective for heart disease prevention.
It doesn’t matter when you begin exercising, it will still work to improve heart health. Even if you haven’t exercised in a while, you can start at any age and still benefit.
Although it may be hard to begin an exercise program, once you do start, it will become easier to complete.
Exercise helps improve the heart health in many ways. For example, it helps control blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, keeps your weight in check, and reduces your overall risk of heart disease.
Exercise can be as simple as going for walks – or you can try something that is more vigorous, it all depends on your physical abilities. But one thing is for certain: It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do, the key is that you move around instead of living a sedentary lifestyle.
There are different types of exercises for all abilities, so the real question is, what type of exercise will you choose?
Exercise types include aerobic exercises (these are exercises that increase your heart rate and make you breathe harder), stretching exercises, and strength training.
Moderately intense exercise should be completed for at least 30 minutes five times a week. More intense exercises can be conducted less frequently. It’s always important, though, that you gradually work your way up to greater intensity and longer duration.
Any type of exercise, regardless of intensity, should always include a warm-up (gradually increasing your heart rate and warming up the muscles to lower the risk of injury) and a cool down.
Always speak to your doctor before performing any physical activity, as you may have a condition that limits the range of exercises you can safely perform. Your doctor will be able to recommend the type of exercise that is best for you.