A little while back, I wrote a question and answer style blog on hypertension and exercise. This was in response to common questions I get from British Columbians in my role at the Physical Activity Line about being active with health conditions. This week, I answer other frequently asked questions, this time looking at how physical activity affects heart disease.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease includes many conditions such as blocked blood vessels of your heart, irregular heartbeats, and heart failure. Find a full list of heart disease conditions here.
How Can I Prevent Heart Disease?
Being active, eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and managing stress can all help prevent heart disease.
How Does Physical Activity Help My Heart?
Regular physical activity has huge benefits on heart health. Like exercising your arm and leg muscles, exercising the heart makes it stronger. Aerobic exercise (walking briskly, swimming, and dancing) lowers your resting heart rate, strengthens the heart muscle, and is good for heart blood flow. Indirectly, physical activity also helps lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, and control blood sugar levels.
Can I be Physically Active with Heart disease?
Always consult your doctor prior to beginning an exercise program. But, in most cases, you can be active if you have heart disease. Physicians may prescribe an exercise stress test to see how your heart responds to exercise.
If you live with heart disease, or have questions about heart disease and exercise, speak with the qualified exercise professional at the Physical Activity Line (1-877-725-1149).
We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it: exercise is medicine. How has exercise improved your health?
Heart and Stroke: Recovery Road an Information Guide for Heart Patients and their Family
HealthLinkBC: Heart Disease: Exercising for a Healthy Heart