Sure, you know that living an active life is good for your ticker. But do you really know why exercise is such a powerful heart-disease protector? Be active, and see all that you’ll reap:
1. Better blood-sugar control. People with diabetes have a significantly higher risk of heart problems, so anything that keeps that disease in check protects the heart, too.
2. Improved circulation. Your heart is a muscle, and exercise helps make it stronger. A strong heart pumps blood more efficiently, and delivers more oxygen and nutrients to every inch of your body. This improvement in circulation increases energy levels so you can do more activities without getting tired.
3. Lower blood pressure. Being active helps reduce the risk of developing high-blood pressure, and it helps control it if it sets in.
4. Healthier cholesterol levels. Physical activity increases HDL (good) cholesterol, decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol and decreases triglycerides.
5. Reduced stress. Exercise triggers biochemical changes in your brain that temper feelings of anxiety and depression, a condition that has been linked to heart disease.
6. Weight loss. Sweating it out forces the body to burn more calories, which means there are fewer available that can be stored as fat.
7. Sounder sleep. Living actively can help improve the quality of your sleep as well as help you fall asleep faster. And that’s good new for your heart: Research has linked chronic sleep deprivation to heart disease.
8. Appetite control. Working it may help curb your appetite, which can make it easier to lose and control your weight.
9. More efficient fat metabolism. Exercising after a high-fat meal can help reverse some of the damage that fat does to your arteries.
10. Improved symptoms. If you already have heart disease, exercise may decrease symptoms of angina (chest discomfort) and heart failure. Ready to get moving? Get the all clear from your doctor and check out these resources for starting an exercise program.
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