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The Heart Of an Exercise Routine(1)

Por Leslie Rodríguez, RD, LD* -
The Heart Of an Exercise Routine(1)

What could do more damage to your heart than smoking a pack of cigarettes every day? Lack of physical activity can severely damage your heart.

If you do not engage in regular physical activity, you could double your chance of developing heart disease, increase your diabetes risk and cause your blood pressure to soar. Unfortunately, an estimated 65 to 85% of the world’s population does not get enough exercise. Heart disease can affect children as well due to lack of physical activity. In fact, 2 out of 3 kids worldwide fail to exercise enough.
An extremely strong muscle, your heart must pump blood to every part of your body. Like any other muscle in your body, your heart gets stronger with regular exercise. Engaging in certain types of activity helps increase your cardiovascular fitness by improving blood circulation throughout your body. Your bloodstream delivers oxygen throughout your body via your bloodstream. So, aerobic activity makes your heart and circulatory system work harder to get the oxygen where it needs to go.

A heart strengthened as a result of regular cardiovascular exercise does not have to work as hard to circulate the blood through the body because each pump does its job more efficiently. Some research has indicated that exercise works much the same way as some heart medications. Exercise forces more blood to pass over the walls of your blood vessels. This action reduces inflammation similar to how steroids work in your body. Scientists have linked inflammation to atherosclerosis (artery hardening).

Vigorous and moderately vigorous activities will most improve the condition of your heart and lungs, but low-intensity exercise also has its benefits. Vigorous activity includes dancing, bicycling, running, swimming and walking briskly on a regular basis. Moderately vigorous activities, such as soccer, basketball, tennis and slower-paced walking, also improve the condition of your heart. The American Heart Association recommends partaking in one of these activities for at least 30 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week.

Low-intensity activities, such as baseball, gardening, housework and walking at a leisurely pace do not condition the heart and lungs much, but they have other long-term health benefits including improving coordination and muscle tone, relieving tension and burning up some calories.
Improving your heart health requires an ongoing effort. If you stop your aerobic routine, you'll lose the benefits to your heart. Fortunately, you don't have to run a marathon to reap the cardiac benefits of exercise. Even a moderate amount will do your heart some good. So, consider taking a brisk 30-minute walk 4 or 5 days a week to help you control your weight, manage your stress and make you less anxious and more optimistic. Not only will all of these factors help improve your heart health, but you'll also get your heart pumping faster to make it a more efficient and toned muscle!

*Specialist in sports nutrition and physical activity of MyDiet™


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