The Effects of Exercise on Heart Health

The Effects of Exercise on Heart Health

Heart disease is a highly common disease that contributes to more deaths nationwide than any other condition. In support of American Heart Month, here are some ways that you can help prevent heart disease every single day through physical activity.

Lowering Heart Disease Risk with Physical Activity

  • Cholesterol Health. There is some evidence that individuals with high cholesterol levels are at an increased risk for heart disease.  Cholesterol, especially smaller forms of cholesterol such as LDL and VLDL, is a fatty substance that is required for certain hormones in your body, but consuming too much can cause heart problems.  Exercise is one of the best ways to help regulate and maintain healthy cholesterol levels and some research supports that high intensity interval training (HIIT) can mimic the health effects that are seen in a statin drug (raises HDL and lowers LDL cholesterol).  It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity or exercise every day in order to gain these benefits and if you are capable of doing HIIT, consider interval training for at least 20 minutes for best results.
  • Blood Vessel Health. Part of having a strong and healthy heart is to have healthy blood vessels.  When you perform resistance training, your arteries dilate to allow more nutrients to reach your muscles.  This effect is a result of nitroglycerin being secreted from the vessels and is a major benefit to your heart’s functioning.  The more you lift weights and resistance train, the bigger your vessels get and the less likely you are to have a heart attack.
  • Reduce Inflammation. Perhaps the most important factor when it comes to heart health is the level of inflammation your body produces.  The inflammation in your body is measures through C-reactive protein (CRP) and has a strong association with heart disease.  Regular physical activity can help to reduce this protein in your blood to help keep your risk at a minimal level.  Try some cardio every day for at least 30 minutes each to help keep your CRP levels low.  You can do this brisk walking, jogging, stair master, elliptical, or cycling regularly. 
  • Burn Calories. Burning calories is something we have gotten used to for aesthetics.  Yes, burning calories will help to keep your body trim and slim, but it will also help to maintain your weight for the purposes of heart health.  Obesity is a growing concern in the U.S., but the biggest concern with obesity is the stress it places on the heart muscle.  Regular cardio, interval, resistance, or functional training can help to burn calories so that obesity does not affect your heart and a healthy diet with moderate energy intake is necessary to stay lean.
  • Efficiency.  Your heart is a muscle and one of the most important parts of your body.  Just as with any muscle in your body, working the heart muscle will cause it to become stronger and more efficient.  This can be seen in your resting heart rate; as you get fit, your resting heart rate drops as a result of a higher stroke volume, or the amount of blood pumped out with every beat.  This is all a function of your heart’s cardiac output and it is vital for preventing heart failure.  The more efficient your heart muscle gets, you gain more benefits as a result.

Staying on a regular exercise program is great for feeling good and looking good, but since American Heart Month is upon us, take a moment to reflect on your exercise as a function of your heart health.  The benefits come with each session and it does not take much of your time; simply 30 minutes every day. 




About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

Comments are closed.