#JustMoveIt For a Healthy Heart: One More Reason to Get Fit
If John Hopkins Medicine is to be believed, exercise sometimes can be as good as medication for your heart’s health.
It further goes on to say that regular exercise, clean eating and not smoking could just be your safety net against heart disease.
Heart is a muscle requiring regular exercise. Therefore it’s important to keep blood flowing in and out of it. A simple 30-minute of moderate level of physical activity once a day can work wonders for this. It can reduce the risk of heart disease by 50 percent, according to HearthFoundation.org.
Just Move It - the Doctors Have Spoketh
The fact that exercise is intrinsic to a healthy heart is affirmed by doctors as well. Both Dr Dinesh Mittal and Dr Vaibhav Sharma, leading cardiologists of New Delhi, agree that it’s important to incorporate regular exercise in our daily schedules for a healthy heart.
Heart health isn’t a top priority for many, especially when they are busy juggling relationships, careers, finances, kids’ schedule. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular, immune, digestive and mental and nervous systems. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to establish healthy habits at an early age as it lays a strong groundwork for a strong heart.Dr Dinesh Mittal, Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi
Dr Sharma agrees and recommends cardio workouts to strengthen not only the heart, but the lungs as well.
Exercises, specifically cardio workouts which make the heart beat faster, are absolutely essential for the heart. Common cardio exercises include running, cycling and swimming. Such exercises keep the heart healthy as they increase blood flow through it and increase the strength of both the heart and the lungs.
Fall in Exercise Levels Globally
Humans are not moving enough, quite literally, and the brunt of this inactivity is being faced by their bodies. According to a Lancet study, backed by data by the World Health Organization, lack of exercise is leading to an increase in non-communicable diseases like hypertension and cardiovascular problems, among others.
The recommended level of physical activity, according to the study, is either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, per week for an average adult. Conversely, an average of both of the two activities combined will also serve the same purpose.
Simplifying the Jargon
The doctors suggest that an average adult should exercise for 30-40 minutes at a time about five times a week.
Apart from getting adequate sleep and following a nutritious diet, it is important to have an active lifestyle. Incorporating exercises three or four times a week for a good 30-40 minutes can deliver profound health benefits. It can lower blood pressure, induce weight loss and lower heart rate. An average person should gradually increase the duration and intensity of exercise.Dr Dinesh Mittal
Dr Mishra points out some things to pay attention while exercising and they are as follows:
Things to keep in mind is to stay hydrated, rest well and to not have heavy meals two hours prior to exercise. And to not over exert, listen to your body and stop when you are tired! Exercise should be moderate to heavy, preferably cardio, enough to make you sweat. If it’s walking, then it should be fast paced walk - like you were missing a train rather than taking a leisurely stroll.
Word of Caution Before You Begin
If you’re exercising excessively to stay “fit”, ignoring the pain, it can lead to a rare condition called rhabdomyolysis, commonly called rhabdo. In this, overworked muscles start breaking down and release a harmful protein into the bloodstream. Read more about this here:
Exercise remains the key to heart health, but this study says that you don’t need crazy intense workouts to achieve those results.
European cardiologists studied a small group of 170 veteran endurance athletes against a control group of the same number of sedentary people. They found that people who ran more than 8 kilometres a day had a much higher incidence of narrow arteries and plaque deposition than the couch potatoes. Read more about this study here:
Also Read: Can Exercise Really Hurt Your Heart?
Also Note: Exercise, But Listen to Your Body
However, before you begin, please take into account any pre-existing medical conditions. It’s always exciting to start a new exercise regime, yet it’s important to keep the enthusiasm in check. This will ensure that the programme is sustainable and does not end up causing more harm than benefit.
The first step is to check with one’s doctor before starting any exercise programme, especially if one has any pre-existing health condition. Usually first-time exercisers start too aggressively at this age, which can be detrimental to heart health. To ensure your long term success, start slowly and gradually build up to your goals. So, if the long term goal is to run 5kms, start by walking, then gradually increase the pace and distance.Dr Dinesh Mittal
Dr Sharma goes ahead to also advise professional guidance and support for exercise.