August 2014

Exercise and Heart Disease

Exercise and Heart Disease

One of the major risk factors related to heart disease is inactivity, a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise is important for several reasons. The first, and most prominent reason, is that the heart requires exercise to work effectively and efficiently. The heart is a muscle, and when a muscle is not exercised it can become flaccid and weak. Our heart needs to maintain its endurance, its tone and ability to circulate blood through the body.

Exercise is important for it activates chemical messengers in the body that stimulate all of the systems of the body. When the exercise is positive, that is, when it is not running away from danger, it stimulates life wishes and the healing and wellness systems of the body.

Exercise helps people to feel better, when they are exercising they are doing something for themselves, they are acting in a positive way. So much of our life depends on the reasons we do things. When we exercise as a prisoner running from the law, we burn our self out, but when we exercise as if we are playing a game or enjoying our self, we invigorate ourselves.

Exercise has physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual components involved in it. All of these are stimulated when exercise is entered into in a positive, desirable way. They can however, all be stimulated negatively if one enters into exercise for the wrong reasons, ill prepared and ill advised.

With all of this said the medical profession still has no proof that exercise can prevent coronary artery disease. Yet there is good evidence that it does affect other risk factors. Regular exercise can normalize our heart rate and lower it as the heart becomes more effective in its ability to pump blood. Exercise can lower blood pressure, decrease the level of circulating fats in your blood and help you to either lose weight or keep your weight down.


Aerobic Exercise

Exercise on its own is not the key. It takes a special type of exercising to maximize the results and make it all worth it. This special type of exercise is aerobic exercise. In aerobic exercise you are not just moving or playing, instead aerobic exercise is generally continuous and rhythmic. Aerobic exercise can also increase the heart rate and maintain it in an elevated state for some portion of the time you are exercising. This allows the heart to become stronger and also stimulates deep breathing. Swimming, marathon walking, bicycling, jogging and running are aerobic exercises.

Since we are trying to prevent heart disease, it would be a good idea to discuss the plans for your exercise program with your doctor before you start. Start slowly, build up to any strenuous exercise, make sure that you warm up and cool down. For more information see our section on aerobic versus anaerobic exercising