Heart disease — also known as Ischaemic heart disease (IHD), coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease (CAD) refers to an inadequate supply of blood flowing to the heart.
This is a serious condition which can lead to angina (chest pain) or a heart attack.
Arteries which take blood to the heart can become blocked with a build-up of deposits such as cholesterol, fibrous tissue and calcification. These deposits harden and cause the arteries to narrow. This process is called atherosclerosis.
The good news is that YOU can do a lot to protect the health of your heart. One of the most important is getting regular exercise.
How exercise helps your heart
According to the Heart Foundation, regular exercise is important for:
- preventing heart disease
- reducing your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke
- rehabilitation after a heart attack
- reducing stress, depression and anxiety, which are risk factors for heart disease
- weight control (overweight and obesity are risks for heart disease).
How much exercise?
The Heart Foundation recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. This can be in 30-minute blocks or even three 10-minute blocks. The aim should be to build up to a total of 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity activity every week.
All physical activity is great, but for heart health, moderate activity is recommended. Moderate intensity will cause you to feel warmer (maybe even sweat), breathe harder and raise your heart rate. However, you should still be able to talk.
Some great ideas for activity include walking, tennis, dancing, gardening, cycling, swimming, team sports and even housework and work around the yard.
However, if you have a health problem or have not exercised for a while, it’s wise to get the all-clear from your GP before embarking on a program.
So get up off the couch and get your heart pumping for good health.