Life On The Couch: Is Heart Disease In Your Future

Many factors can have adverse effects on the heart and can lead to heart disease and stroke. One of these factors that are less thought about is inactivity. Throughout our daily lives, there are many reasons why most people do not get the right amount of activity throughout the day. Between work, kids, and relaxation from a long day, there are plenty of reasons to put off exercise for tomorrow. But what is this doing to your health and to your heart?

According to a Harvard Health Letter, a study showing that beginning at the age of 30, inactivity has the most significant impact on a woman’s risk of developing heart disease. The research study looked at the health surveys of 32,000 Australian women to determine how much each risk factor contributed to prolonged heart disease.

The study revealed that before age 30, smoking contributed the most risk of developing heart disease. However, from the age of 30 to late 80’s, low physical activity levels had more influence than any other risk factor.

Researchers concluded that if women between the ages of 30 and 90 were able to reach the recommended weekly exercise quota—approximately 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity—then more than 2,000 middle-aged and older Australian women could be spared from premature death each year.

Women who fail to engage in regular leisure-time physical activity (i.e., at least three times per week for 60 minutes total), and 25% of men and 30% of women perform no leisure-time physical activity.

The World Health Organization states physical inactivity should be an essential risk factor for heart disease and should be included in prevention policies where physical activity is highly prevalent. Without proper, healthy exercise, the risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other contributing factors are more significant.

Recent studies have shown that even little physical activity is beneficial for otherwise inactive individuals. When performed regularly, light to moderate physical activity uses large muscle groups to lower the risk of heart disease.

This means that people beginning to become more physically active should start slow and gradually increase the frequency of active time and the duration of each session using large muscle groups. The most comfortable and most feasible activity that most people can commit to is sustained walking.

Other everyday activities such as bike riding, stair-climbing, and gardening can also produce essential health benefits provided they are sustained and use large muscle groups.

Other complications can come when a person is not active throughout their life; some of these conditions contribute to heart disease. Lack of physical activity:

  • Creates a greater risk of developing high blood pressure
  • Increase your risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Can increase feelings of anxiety and depression
  • May increase the risk of certain cancers
  • May increase the chances of fall in older adults and decrease their ability to continue doing daily activities

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to start becoming active and taking 30 minutes out of each day, or at least three times a week, to go for a walk, ride your bike, or do a few laps at the pool.

Anything that will help you become more active and get your heart pumping will be beneficial for you and your heart. Become creative and get friends and family involved in various physical activities to make the initial routine more bearable. Once you incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, it will be much easier to continue the workout.


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