The Importance of Protecting Your Cardiovascular HealthChoosing a healthy lifestyle or taking medicines (if needed) can help you reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or minimize its damage. Important lifestyle factors for cardiovascular health include:
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a heart-healthy diet
- Quitting (or not starting) smoking.
Exercise provides several benefits to cardiovascular health. It:
- Improves heart and blood vessel function
- Lowers blood pressure and "bad" cholesterol (LDL)
- Raises "good" cholesterol (HDL)
- Boosts energy.
Many people think this means having to do a lot of strenuous exercise every day. This is a myth. A moderate exercise program promotes a lower blood pressure and will help keep your heart and blood vessels in shape. The American Heart Association even classifies walking at a brisk pace for 30 to 60 minutes, three days a week, as "regular physical activity." Also, you don't have to fit all your physical activity into one exercise session. You can break it up into ten-minute sessions or whatever works best for you. Your healthcare provider can help you come up with a good exercise plan to help in preventing heart disease.
(Click Heart Disease and Exercise for more information.)