Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Australia, with almost 44,000 deaths attributed to CVD in Australia in 2012 alone. This equates to CVD killing one Australian every 12 minutes.
Many of us know the risk factors of CVD include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, just to name a few. Nine in ten adult Australians have at least one risk factor for CVD and one in four have three (3) or more risk factors.
The general advice we receive from these frightening and incredibly real statistics include “eat more fruit and vegetables” and “exercise daily”. But the question is, what kind of exercise, how intensely, and for how long?
A new study suggests that for improvements in cardiovascular health, you should pick up the pace. More intense exercise is better than longer bouts of lower-intensity activity at reducing people’s chance of developing the risk factors for heart disease. At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity or fast paced exercise is recommended on most, if not, every day of the week.
We were born to walk. Weather you lace up to walk around the block, on a treadmill, or up the stairs, walking is a natural way to improve your fitness. Remember “faster footsteps equal a healthier heart”.
Running can be more beneficial than walking, if you do it correctly. As a high intensity exercise, it has said to been associated with improvements in a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors including physical fitness, increased HDL (good cholesterol), decreased blood pressure and decreased inflammation.
Yoga will reduce your risk of heart disease by addressing other risk factors such as high blood pressure, stress and anxiety. It also makes the blood vessels more elastic which promotes heart health.
Not only does weight-training build muscle mass, which helps burn fat, it is also good for bone health and your heart. You increase your heart rate during the repetitions, but allow for recovery between sets. By effectively handling the demands placed upon the large muscle groups, you are easing the overall burden of the heart.
While your heart is pumping, you’ll also be building strength and toning your lower body as well as your core muscles. Cycling is also easy on the joints, as it is low impact. It can also be done in the gym, in a spin class, or outside while you’re on your way to work or while you run errands.
Your heart (and lungs) will greatly benefit from a pool workout. Try progressing between 8 to 12 pool laps per swim technique, varying techniques on different days.
Combine short bursts of high intensity exercise with slightly longer periods of active recovery. This can be applied to any exercise. If you are walking, walk at your regular speed for 4 minutes, and brisk walk for 1 minute. The continued high and low heart rate will improve vascular function, burn calories, and make the body more efficient at cleaning the fat and sugar from your blood.
In order to live better, a solid foundation is needed. Having a strong core will not only contribute to your heart health, but it will help you carry groceries up the stairs, sit up, and bend over more effectively than you did before.
The more muscles involved in an activity, the harder your heart must work to fuel them all, thus growing stronger. Such exercises include rowing, swimming, walking with poles, etc. which recruit various muscle groups in the body.
Be active in your daily doings too! Those who clean, garden, jog and run errands by foot or bike burn calories and are generally healthier than those who sit all day and then exercise for their 30-60 minutes. Why don’t you wear a pedometer to measure how active you have been outside your exercise time?
Never forget that any type of exercise is better than no exercise at all. Start off with low intensity and work your way up to moderate and then intense. Before you start a new exercise plan, talk to your doctor to make sure the physical activity or type of exercise you choose is appropriate for your age, health and fitness condition.
This article was kindly supplied by: Australia Wide First Aid
This article was research and created for the purpose of first aid information. All information read should not be used in place of advice from qualified health professionals