Most of the research on the benefits of exercise focuses on cardiovascular protection, as studies show that exercise clearly strengthens the heart and reduces cardiac risk factors. Numerous scientific reports link regular physical activity to enhanced cardiovascular health. Conversely, low levels of physical fitness are associated with a higher rate of cardiovascular events. Even so, the majority of us remain sedentary, despite evidence that even in midlife, increased physical activity is associated with decreased mortality. Should coronary heart disease develop, it tends to be less severe and occur at a later age in those who are physically fit. Although science tells us that exercise, along with a healthy diet and maintenance of a healthy weight are the key components of a long and healthy life, less than one-third of adults meet even the minimum recommendations for long term health.
While we know that exercise makes us feel and look better, improves our mood, reduces stress and aids more restful sleep, how specifically does it benefit heart health? Genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, high blood pressure, and high blood lipids are the major risk factors for heart disease. Exercise combined with a healthy diet has a favorable effect on obesity, and blood pressure, triglyceride, and insulin levels. Those who think that going out for a brisk daily walk just isn’t all that important for their long-term health, should know that the effects of continued, moderate exercise on overall cardiac health can be lifesaving. Studies show the greatest gains in mortality rates are realized when a sedentary individual becomes moderately active. The recommendations for participation in moderate activities for a minimum of 30 minutes daily is surprisingly reasonable.
A new analysis of data recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a healthy lifestyle, punctuated by not smoking, moderate exercise, and a nutritious diet can reduce cardiac risk even for those with the worst genetic factors. According to Dr. Sekar Kathiresan, the director of the Center for Human Genetic Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, “DNA is not destiny; it is not deterministic for this disease. You do have control over the problem, even if you have been dealt a bad genetic hand.” The researchers found that even though genes can double the risk of heart disease, a healthy lifestyle cuts the risks in half. Just as importantly, an unhealthy lifestyle erases about half the benefits of good genetics.
The researchers analyzed data from four large studies that had both genetic and lifestyle data on 55,000 participants who developed heart disease. Researchers created a genetic score based on 50 genes associated with heart disease, and a lifestyle score based on whether people smoked, exercised at least once per week, followed a healthy diet and whether they were overweight or obese. The optimum lifestyle score was based on having three or all four of these elements. Dr. Kathiresan concluded that even with obesity, when people exercised, followed a healthy diet, and didn’t smoke, the genetic risk was reduced.
Dr. Lawrence J. Appel, director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, concurred, “You do not have to have an exemplary lifestyle to reap a big benefit. It looks as if the biggest protective effect by far came from going from a terrible lifestyle to one that was at least moderately good.” It’s important to know that even those with a worrisome genetic risk, have the power to change that risk. It appears that making even a moderate effort to live a healthier lifestyle can lead to a longer healthier lifespan, even for those who have a higher genetic risk of heart disease.
Everyone has to start somewhere. If you’ve been eating poorly or have been sedentary for years, this study showed that every step you take and every small dietary change you make, makes you just a bit healthier each day. It’s not all or nothing at all. It’s a small commitment towards a higher goal to reduce cardiac risk and improve your health, so you can look forward to a long and vibrant health span.
Professional Supplement Center carries these and other top quality products to support cardiac health and overall wellness:
Cardio by NovaHue – This bioactive, synergistic, patented whole food formula provides optimal levels of standardized tomato extract along with a proprietary blend of phytosterols. Safe and effective, clinically tested Cardio helps to maintain blood pressure already within the normal range, and provides support for overall cardiovascular health and the circulatory system. Egg, milk and wheat free. Contains soy.
D-Ribose Powder by Healthy Origins – D-ribose is a naturally occurring pentose sugar that supports energy production, muscle recovery and cardiovascular health. D-ribose does not elevate blood sugar nor cause insulin spikes. Gluten, diary, yeast and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.
B12 Infusion by Enzymatic Therapy – These fast absorbing, chewables provide methylcobalamin, the active form of vitamin B12 in support energy production, homocysteine metabolism and nervous system function. Gluten, dairy, soy and yeast free vegetarian formulation.
L-Carnitine 500 by Progressive Labs – L-Carnitine transports fatty acids, triglycerides and cholesterol into the mitochondria where they are oxidized, supporting energy production, weight management, and liver and cardiovascular health.
Genetic Heart Disease Risk Eased by Healthy Habits, Study Finds. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/14/health/genetic-heart-disease-risk-eased-by-healthy-habits-study-finds.html
American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp
Coronary artery disease. http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/coronary-artery-disease
Exercise and Cardiovascular Health. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/107/1/e2
Healthy Heart. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_heart/move_more/six-heart-benefits-of-exercise