Exercise and prevention of heart disease

exercise and the heart
Exercise and the heart

How can exercise prevent heart disease?

Dr. Paul Dudley White, the famous physician who has taught many a luminary in the field of cardiology once wrote that heart disese before eighty is our fault and not God’s will or nature’s will. This means that he recognized long back, the role of life style modification in preventing heart disease. Exercise in a regular pattern is one of the important life style modifications which everyone can adopt to prevent or delay heart disease. Exercise helps in various ways. Regular exercise conditions the body so that the effort tolerance, lung and muscle function improves. So does our feeling of well being. Of course exercise burns out extra calories and reduces body weight, which in turn is due to a decrease in the fat deposits. A decrease in fat deposits can reverse the process of block formation in our blood vessels.

Regular exercise can bring down the blood pressure in the long run. Though blood pressure rises progressively with increasing exercise, it reduces the resting blood pressure in the long run. Lower blood pressures means lower workload for the heart and the chance of thickening of heart muscle and heart failure are reduced.

High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the blood increases with regular exercise. HDL is the good cholesterol which gives us protection from heart disease. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol which is otherwise known as bad cholesterol, decreases with exercise, again providing protection from heart disease.