Every 37 seconds an American dies from cardiovascular disease. That equates to one is every death in the United States (about 647,000 deaths), are caused by heart disease. Chronic illnesses such as heart disease, costs the US government almost $219 billion each year. These are staggering numbers, but what can we do to lower these statistics? Healthy lifestyle changes such as physical activity goes a long way in achieving this.

Physical activity refers to any movement that works your muscles and requires more energy than at resting. It improves the heart’s capacity to send blood which carries oxygen and other nutrients throughout the body. It helps in strengthening the heart muscle and helps the heart to work less.

So what happens to our heart when we exercise?

  1. The heart muscles are strengthened which makes the heart become more efficient and be able to pump blood throughout your body.

    Performing activities such as walking, gardening, swimming, taking the stairs, dancing and fitness classes are all examples of physical activities. Please note, it is recommended to seek medical professional advice from your doctor before embarking or beginning a new exercise routine.

  2. Exercising reduces blood pressure.

    Regular physical activity makes the heart stronger which in turn, makes the heart work less to pump blood. Blood pressure is the force needed to get blood throughout the body. There are medications that can help lower your blood pressure numbers, but for some, exercise can be enough to reduce blood pressure with no need of any medication.

  3. Exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight.

    Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best gifts for your heart. As we grow older, we tend to become less active, our bodies gains excess weight, which makes the heart to work harder. Exercise helps us to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce excess weight.

There are several activities that are easy to do in order to be being active; you don’t need to go to a gym. You can decide to park your car a little further to get a few extra steps in. Get off the bus a stop or two earlier. Opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Grab a friend and take a nice walk in the park. It is recommended we get in about 10,000 steps a day. But you don’t have to achieve this overnight. It takes discipline and commitment. You can use counting apps on your phone like: pacer, fitbit or googleFit to help you count your steps and keep track of your progress.

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