Norfolk County Cardiologist Association

Exercise and Heart Disease

The American Heart Association has now added " lack of exercise" to the list of major risk factors for heart disease. The other risk factors are smoking, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol.

Exercise not only helps fight heart disease, but for sedentary people, just adding a little exercise to your daily routine reduces the risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer, depression, anxiety and stress. Ideally, you should exercise three to five times a week for 20-50 minutes within your target heart rate. However, your health can benefit simply by accumulating 30 minutes of moderate activity per day, such as stair climbing, walking to work, or gardening.

Also, it is not just aerobic exercise such as walking, cycling, jogging and swimming that is recommended.Resistance training, or weight lifting, is an important component of a good fitness program because it increases your strength, leads to decreased body fat and helps improve blood cholesterol levels.

Benefits of Regular Exercise

· Improves heart and lungs

· Decreases resting blood pressure

· Decreases body fat

· Decreases total and LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol")

· Raises HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol")

· Increases energy level

· Increases tolerance to stress and depression

· Controls or prevents the development of diabetes

· Decreases risk of orthopedic injury

Guidelines for Safe Exercise

· Frequency - 3-5 times a week

· Duration - 20-60 minutes

· Intensity (how hard) - within your target heart rate

Calculating Your Target Heart Rate

1) 220 - age = MHR (maximum heart rate)

2) MHR x 0.6 = _____ (this is the low end of your target HR)

3) MHR x 0.8 = _____ (this is the upper end of your target HR)

Example: If you ar 40 years old, your MHR is 220 - 40 = 180.

180 x 0.6 = 108

180 x 0.8 = 144

Therefore, your Target Heart Rate is between 108 and 144 beats per minute.