Physical exercise and cardiovascular health

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Physical exercise and cardiovascular health

The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers physical activity to be any movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. It has been observed that physical inactivity is the fourth risk factor with respect to global mortality, i.e. the 6% of deaths worldwide. In addition, it is estimated that lack of physical exercise is the main cause of approximately 21 and 25% of breast and colon cancers, 27% of diabetes cases, and 30% of the burden of ischaemic heart disease.

Physical exercise and cardiovascular health:

Regular physical exercise has shown its benefits in preventing coronary heart disease in the short and long term. However, the level of a sedentary lifestyle in modern society is high. Most of our daily tasks are not related to any vigorous exercise, and great technical advances tend to favour a lack of physical activity. People get around by car or bus and watch television or sit in front of their computer in their spare time.

Multiple scientific studies have shown a reduction in the risk of suffering a myocardial infarction of approximately 38% in active individuals compared to sedentary individuals.

Benefits of physical exercise

About the heart:

It slows the resting heart rate and increases the amount of blood that the heart expels with each beat. In this way, cardiac efficiency is greater by “spending” less energy to work. On the other hand, it can stimulate circulation within the heart muscle, thereby favouring the “feeding” of the heart.

About the circulatory system:

  • Contributes to the reduction of blood pressure.
  • Increases circulation in all muscles.
  • Reduces the formation of clots within the arteries, thus preventing the occurrence of heart attacks and cerebral thrombosis.

About metabolism:

  • Increases the capacity to take advantage of the oxygen
  • It increases the activity of the muscular enzymes, elements that allow a better metabolism of the muscle and therefore a less need for cardiac work.
  • Increase fat consumption during activity, thereby contributing to weight loss.
  • Lowers total LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and increases HDL (‘good’) cholesterol.
  • Improves glucose tolerance favouring the treatment of diabetes.

About smoking:

Individuals who do some physical exercise are known to quit smoking more easily, and there is an inverse relationship between physical exercise and smoking.

Psychological aspects:

  • Increases the feeling of well-being and decreases mental stress. Release of endorphins occurs, substance with a chemical structure like opiates (morphine), which promotes “feeling good” after exercise (without, of course, the deleterious effects of the drug).
  • Decreases the degree of aggressiveness.
  • Decreases the feeling of fatigue.

Physical exercise favours cardiovascular health by improving or suppressing risk factors (lowering of blood pressure and cholesterol, improvement of diabetes, suppression of smoking, improvement of psychological factors, loss of body weight) and acting directly on the heart, the circulation and the wall of the arteries to prevent the development of any disease.

In patients who have a deteriorated heart due to having previously suffered a “heart attack,” it improves the quality of life by allowing greater tolerance to the efforts and less work on the heart to carry them out.

It is always a good idea to start some form of physical activity. Set yourself a little target and go for it. You just have to do it!

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Yvette Mayemelle Kaba
Yvette Mayemelle Kaba
Founder of UIC | Wife | Mum of Two | Inspirational Writer | Mentor | Aspiring Entrepreneur

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