HOW DOES PHYSICAL ACTIVITY RELATE TO CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE?
Physical inactivity or lack of regular exercise is clearly shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. People who don’t exercise frequently have twice the risk for cardiovascular disease compared to those who are active. The more sedentary you are, the more likely it is you’ll develop cardiovascular disease. In fact, the risk to your health from prolonged periods of inactivity is the same as having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and regularly smoking.
In addition to having a direct impact on cardiovascular health, physical activity also indirectly affects numerous other associated risk factors, including:
- Reduced LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and triglycerides (fats)
- Increased HDL, or “good,” cholesterol
- Better control of blood sugar
- Decreased body fat
- Lowered blood pressure
Benefits of Physical Activity
It is never too late to begin incorporating physical activity into your daily life. Regardless of your age, or the type and intensity of the activity, you can improve your overall health while significantly increasing your quality of life.
Physical activity is a safe and effective strategy for the prevention and management not only of heart disease but also type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and back pain. And exercise keeps your weight down. Every part of the body can benefit from almost any increase in physical activity — short stints of just ten minutes at a time can be as effective as 30 minutes of continuous exercise.