Benefits of Exercise for Heart Health

Benefits of Exercise for Heart Health

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In a recent study by Dr. Issa Dahabreh of Tufts Medical Center in Boston published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,  Dr. Dahabreh and Jessica K. Paulus, Sc.D conclude that men who are sedentary and engage in vigorous exercise or sexual activity are more likely to suffer a heart attack than men who are physically active.

Study on Sedentary Men and Sex

Dr. Dahabreh, lead author of the study, investigated 6,000 men over the age of 50 who do not get much exercise on a regular basis.  The study found that sedentary men who engaged in excessive physical exercise or sex were 3 times as likely to have a heart attack than physically active men who engaged in either activity.   Dr. Dahabreh was concerned that people reading the study would conclude that older men should not engage in exercise, due to risk of having a heart attack.   This is a false conclusion.  Exercise and heart health are two words men should memorize.  Men who are considered “couch potatoes” should definitely exercise, but start with a low impact exercise and slowly increase activity as the person’s health and endurance improves.

Sedentary men who want to begin an exercise program should start with low impact exercise, such as walking, bike riding or using a treadmill.

 

What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

Sex, just like exercise, raises the heart rate, blood pressure and puts a strain on the cardiovascular system.  Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease.  Men who are less active, tend to have a poor heart healthy diet high in sugar, salt and trans-fats.  This leads to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, due to plaque build up on the walls of the arteries which carry blood from the heart throughout the body.  When the walls of the arteries become blocked, it constrains the efficient flow of blood, which starves the body of vital nutrients and forces the heart to work harder.  Sudden vigorous exercise or sexual activity can tax the system and lead to a heart attack.

 

Best Exercise Routine for Couch Potatoes

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Men and women who are sedentary and want to begin an exercise program, should begin with a low-impact heart healthy exercise routine, like using a recumbent exercise bike.  Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
 

  • Bike riding
  • Walking
  • Using a stationary bike in your home
  • Joining a gym
  • Using a recumbent exercise bike

 
It is important to see your doctor before beginning an exercise program, to determine the types of exercise that are permitted based on your age, overall health and any medical condition.  For people that can handle easy to moderate exercise, the best type of bike to use is a hybrid bike.   With a hybrid bicycle, you are sitting upright on a larger padded seat, which puts less strain on your back and shoulders as compared to a mountain bike.  A hybrid bike is designed for city or casual riding, short to long road riding or trail riding.

For people who require a more regimented heart health program, or need to monitor the amount of stress on their heart, a recumbent exercise bike may be the best option. You can actually monitor your heart rate on a screen on this type of exercise bike, and you can program your exercise routine to both prevent over exhaustion and reduce the risk of a heart attack during exercise and can step up your exercise as health and endurance improves.

 

Conclusion

Both sex and exercise are good and important activities for men and women to engage in to ensure a happy and healthy life.  For men who are relatively inactive and maintain an unhealthy diet, these activities can be dangerous to your heart, and can lead to a heart attack.  While the goal is not to turn men into marathon runners, this study should raise a red flag in men who do not exercise 3 times or more per week for 15 minutes to 30 minutes.

 

Sources:

JAMA

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