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Exercising For A Healthier Heart

February 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 142

The evidence is in: Physical activity is an ingredient of a longer life. Sedentary people are a greater risk not only for heart disease death but for death from other causes as well. This really should come as no surprise, since other studies have also established that exercise has a favorable effect on so many risk factors for heart disease.

Physical exercise lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, gives good HDLs a healthy boost, tends to help with weight reduction, and lowers the percentage of body fat. Exercise also has a favorable effect on blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and heart rate.

Being physically fit even helps protect the heart against mental stress. A University of Toronto study revealed that in people who are less physically fit, the heart tends to overreact to hormones that are released during periods of psychological stress.

But does this mean you have to become a world-class cyclist, run marathons, or spend most of your leisure time sweating at the gym? Do you have to dedicate major portions of your life to exercise to get the beneficial effects? Not according to the most recent research.

Take a fitness vacation. A study of more than 17,000 people found that people who exercised only infrequently--such as when they were on vacation--were still only one-third as likely to have heart disease as people who never exercised.

Go rake the lawn. Gain doesn't have to mean pain. Research named, aptly enough, MRFIT (Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial), involving more than 12,000 men, has revealed that the amount and the intensity exercise necessary to substantially lower heart disease risk is considerably less than had been believed. The latest results of the MRFIT study show that men who regularly engage in light to moderate physical activity enjoy the same protection from heart disease as men whose activity levels are considerably higher.

Men who expended only 224 calories a day in leisure-time activities were as well protected from fatal heart attacks as men who expended more than 600 calories. It took the men an average of only about 48 minutes a day to gain that protection. And they didn't have to come anywhere near a running shoe or a gym to do it. As a matter of fact, the most common activities were things like working around the yard, gardening, walking, and home repairs.

Take a walk. A British study has found that brisk walking can slightly lower total cholesterol and significantly raise HDL cholesterol levels in previously sedentary women. The walking was decidedly low-intensity, as the women raised their heart rate to only 60 percent of their maximum aerobic rate. Other studies of the impact of exercise on cholesterol show that women can lower their heart disease risk by 42 to 50 percent.

Just nod off. You may not need to exercise at all to lower your heart disease risk. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Taking a siesta may lower your risk, too. You can't get any lower intensity than that! According to researchers at the University of Athens Medical School, that afternoon nap may be the difference between heart disease and health.

In their study, which compare heart patients with people who had no hear problems, those who took an afternoon nap of at least 30 minutes daily had only 71 percent the heart disease risk as those who did not.

The longer the siesta, the more heart disease risk declined. These results may help explain why the heart disease risk is greater in countries that do not take naps (like the United States, Canada, northern Europe, and Scandinavia) and lower in countries where the siesta is common and accepted (like tropical and Mediterranean countries).

These findings may be new to some but they are significant information so that people would know the repercussion of staying on the couch the whole. Perfect health is never easy to attain but if you do, you'll enjoy it for the rest of your life.

Source: EzineArticles
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