How Physical Activity Helps Prevent Heart Attacks

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How to prevent heart attack? Healthy lifestyle habits are probably the best defense you can have against heart diseases. When you combine a healthy diet with regular exercise, you are lowering your risk of a heart attack.   

Physical Activity and Heart Attack: The Relationship

Physical activity is good for the heart. When you regularly exercise, your muscles become stronger and healthier. The less-used muscles weaken and atrophy. Just like any other muscle, your heart also needs exercise to function at an optimal level without strain. Your heart pumps more blood through the body when you exercise. This helps it to grow stronger and healthier. Your arteries and other blood vessels also become flexible, thus ensuring normal blood pressure and good blood flow.

How to Prevent Heart Attack by Being Physically Active?  

Learning how to prevent heart attack is critical to your overall health. If you want to lower the risk of having a heart attack, you should get at least 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.

Benefits of Exercise on Heart Health

Engaging in physical activities has the following heart benefits:

  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Keep your weight in control
  • Raise good (HDL) cholesterol levels
  • Control blood sugar

If you have had a heart attack, regular exercise increases the number of smaller blood vessels (collateral blood vessels) that connect different coronary arteries. If there is a sudden blockage in one of the major coronary arteries, these collateral blood vessels jump in to supply blood to the heart muscle that’s threatened by a heart attack.

How to Prevent Heart Attack: 3 Kinds of Exercise

1. Aerobic Exercise

How it works: Aerobic exercise improves circulation, as a result, blood pressure and heart rate is lowered.

How often: 30 mins a day, 5 times a week

What exercise: Running, brisk walking, swimming, cycling, and skipping.

2. Resistance/Strength Training

How it works:  Resistance training helps reduce fat and develop leaner muscle mass. Research shows when you combine aerobic exercise and resistance training, it works well to raise good (HDL) cholesterol and lower bad (LDL) cholesterol.

How often: At least twice a week on non-consecutive days

What exercise: Body resistance exercises (squats, push-ups), working out with weights (dumbbells, barbells), with resistance bands, and on weight machines.  

3. Flexibility, Stretching, and Balance

How it works: Flexibility workouts do not contribute directly to heart health, but it helps you to stay flexible to do exercises (aerobic exercise and strength training) that boost your heart health.

How often: Every day and before and after exercise

What exercise: Basic stretches, and yoga.

Now that you know how to prevent heart attack with exercise, it’s time to take control of your health – make healthy choices, and stay physically active. Healthy living is the best way to prevent a heart attack.