World Heart Day 2023: Staying physically active can help boost heart health
A healthy heart is essential to one's life. To better understand the importance of a healthy heart and our heart as a whole, we observe 29th September as World Heart Day. This day is celebrated by organising and participating in events that draw global attention towards the importance of a good heart health.
Regular exercise is essential to to keep our heart healthy. However, physical inactivity is a growing problem in our fast-paced, technologically-driven society. A general definition of physical inactivity is the absence of regular exercise or physical activity in a person's daily schedule. It includes a variety of habits, such as prolonged periods of inactivity, a lack of vigorous to moderate physical activity, and a general lack of exercise. Such a sedentary lifestyle has far-reaching and frequently underestimated effects.
Link between physical inactivity and heart health
1. Increased risk of heart disease
The link between physical inactivity and heart disease is one of the most concerning effects. Sedentary behaviour is a substantial risk factor for heart issues, according to studies. Obesity, high blood pressure, and excessive cholesterol levels are all risk factors for heart disease that can be brought on by insufficient physical exercise.
2. Weight management
Obesity and weight gain are often caused by inactivity. The heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body when the body is overweight. If this additional strain is not addressed, it may eventually result in heart issues.
Unhealthy body weight can increase your risk of heart disease
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3. Blood pressure
High blood pressure, often known as hypertension, is a well-known cause of sedentary lifestyle, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease. By keeping the cardiovascular system healthy, regular exercise helps maintain normal blood pressure levels.
4. Cholesterol levels
Exercise is essential for controlling cholesterol levels. While reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol, it increases good (HDL) cholesterol. In order to lower the risk of arterial plaque accumulation and issues relating to the heart, this equilibrium is essential.
5. Diabetes prevention
Insulin resistance and an increased risk of type-2 diabetes are closely related to inactivity. Regular exercise raises insulin sensitivity, which makes it simpler for the body to control blood sugar levels and lowers the chance of developing diabetes.
6. Cardiovascular function
The heart and circulatory system are strengthened by regular exercise. It aids in lowering blood clot development and inflammation, two things that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
7. Stress reduction
Heart disease is silently caused by stress, and excessive levels of stress are frequently accompanied with inactivity. Exercise effectively reduces stress by generating endorphins and enhancing feelings of wellbeing. Physical activity is a key component of sustaining heart health when dealing with stress.
The importance of regular exercise
Exercise must be a regular part of our everyday lives because it has a significant negative impact on heart health. Aim for 75 minutes of intense aerobic exercise or at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week, according to health experts. To maintain muscle mass and metabolic health, strength-training exercises should also be done at least twice a week.
Simple modifications to one's life might sometimes have a big impact. Simple strategies to include physical exercise into our daily routines include taking breaks from prolonged sitting, choosing to walk or cycle small distances rather than drive and choosing the stairs over the lift. It is of utmost importance, especially for young people.
A sharp surge in heart attacks among people in their 30s and 40s due to an unhealthy diet or lifestyle has been observed over the past few years. Here's a video that explains why heart attacks are rising in young people:
The effects of physical inactivity on heart health cannot be stressed in today's society, which is becoming more and more sedentary. It significantly contributes to heart disease and the risk factors that go along with it. Fortunately, we have access to the solution in the form of regular exercise. We may lessen these risks and keep our hearts in the best possible shape by adding physical activity into our daily routines and making small lifestyle adjustments. Small actions taken today can have a big impact on our hearts and general health in the future.
(Dr. Sameer Gupta, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Group Director - Cardiac Cath Lab, Director Metro Group Cardiology & CTVS, Metro Hospital, Noida)
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