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Exercise to Prevent Heart Disease

 

by the Go Red For Women Editors

Everywhere you turn, it seems like someone is preaching the importance of regular exercise. And your doctor, health-nut friend and even first lady, Michelle Obama, all have good reason to.

In addition to the physical toll a lack of exercise takes on the body, a whopping 65 percent of all American adults today are obese or overweight, increasing their risk for heart disease. Meanwhile, the heart-healthy benefits of exercising for just 30 minutes a day are nearly endless. To name a few, exercise:

  • Improves blood circulation
  • Keeps your weight under control
  • Helps you quit smoking
  • Improves cholesterol levels
  • Prevents and manages high blood pressure
  • Prevents bone loss
  • Boosts energy level
  • Helps manage stress
  • Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly
  • Reduces coronary heart disease in women by 30-40 percent
  • Reduces risk of stroke by 20 percent in moderately active people
  • Delays and chronic illness and disease associated with aging

Where do I begin?

While you may be eager to start a new exercise program or add a new activity to your existing routine, be sure to talk to your doctor first. Taking into account your medical history, age and other considerations, your doctor can help determine what activities are best for your current physical condition.

We also suggest starting a walking program, which is the easiest way to begin exercising. It’s free, it has the lowest dropout rate of any type of exercise and studies show that for every hour of walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours. You could even grab a few girlfriends and start a walking club to help keep each other accountable and celebrate your health accomplishments together.