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 Exercise and Heart Disease

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Research shows physically inactive people are twice as likely to develop heart disease as people who engage in regular physical exercise. Regular aerobic exercise goes a long way toward the prevention of heart disease.

What is Exercise?

Exercise is any physical exertion that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health. A complete exercise program should include:

  • Cardiovascular exercise – exercise that strengthens the heart and lungs, increases endurance and burns calories. Examples include walking, running, aerobics, cycling, swimming and dancing.
  • Strength training – exercise that helps you build lean muscle tissue, which raises metabolism and reduces body fat. Any activity where you exert force against resistance qualifies as strength training. The most common form is weight lifting.
  • Flexibility exercises – activity that increases the range of motion of a joint and its surrounding tissue. Examples include stretching and some forms of yoga and Pilates.

General Exercise Recommendations

The American Heart Association has set exercise recommendations for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease. These guidelines include:

  • Moderately intense cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or vigorous cardiovascular exercise for 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week
  • Eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week
  • Stretching a minimum of two to three days a week

Benefits of Exercise

Daily physical activity plays a positive role in reducing your risk for heart disease. Benefits from regular exercise or physical activity include:

  • Improved blood circulation throughout the body
  • Keeping weight under control
  • Improved blood cholesterol levels
  • Controlling high blood pressure
  • Preventing bone loss
  • Increased energy levels
  • Reduced tension
  • Better sleep habits
  • Improved self-image
  • Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
  • Increased enthusiasm and optimism
  • Increased muscle strength

Center for Wellness and Prevention

The Center for Wellness and Prevention at Ohio State's Martha Morehouse Medical Plaza features a fitness center that provides a friendly, comfortable environment for exercise. Professional staff is available to answer your questions or provide guidance and encouragement while you exercise.