Want to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle? Increase your exercise, study says
A recent study reviewed the effects of physical inactivity on the risk of cardiovascular disease and the environmental factors influencing a heart-healthy lifestyle among patients.
Physical activity is associated with many health benefits including a decrease in the risk of mortality, greater cardiovascular health, lower occurrence of illness, and improved overall fitness. Due to its modifiable nature, intervention in the form of physical activity is often a part of treatment regimens for most medical illnesses. Initiatives promoting adequate physical activity as a lifestyle are being implemented across nations in an effort to improve overall health. A research article published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology assesses the pathological and physiological impact of physical activity or inactivity on the cardiovascular system.
A recent press release noted that in 2012, it was found that 7% of type 2 diabetes and 6% of coronary heart disease diagnoses worldwide were attributed to physical inactivity. This study compiled information on environmental and personal factors contributing to physical activity habits of the participants.
The lead author of the review claimed that the positive correlations between increased physical activity and improved cardiovascular health were consistent across all ethnicities, sexes, and ages. Comparing both extremes, no physical activity, and intense physical activity, the research found a 40% decrease in the risk of heart disease.
Aerobic exercise, in particular, facilitated with a healthy diet, was found to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure, the risk of ischemic strokes, and low-density lipoprotein levels in the body. Significant changes in all-cause mortality were identified when the participants’ one-hour sitting time was substituted with one hour of physical activity.
The study also recognized rehabilitation programs to be beneficial for cardiovascular disease patients. These programs proved to be most effective when patients committed to transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle and increasing physical activity in their daily routine.
The review took a big-picture look at the relationship between cardiovascular conditions and physical activity levels. The unique approach allows health professionals to analyze and target environmental factors that have a large influence on patients’ physical activity and a heart-healthy lifestyle. With further promotional initiatives set in place for the general population in favour of increased physical activity, countries will be able to improve overall health while encouraging preventative care rather than relying entirely on curative treatment with respect to cardiovascular disease.
Written by Shrishti Ahuja, HBSc