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Can Exercise Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease?

written by: RobinRaven • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 8/19/2010

Exercise provides many health benefits to individuals. It can correct and prevent many illnesses and conditions, and it ultimately provides a higher quality of life when someone works out on a consistent basis. It also greatly reduces one's risk of heart disease.

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    The Importance of Exercise

    Exercise needs to be a part of the weekly routine of everybody committed to a healthy lifestyle. Even if a diet is meticulously created to provide optimal health, one is still at risk for heart disease without consistent exercise at least three times per week. As a matter of fact, according to, an individual's cessation of consistent exercise is the highest risk factor for heart disease. Even so, the majority of adults still do not get enough exercise.

    Exercise prevents heart disease by lowering one's heart rate. It ensures that the heart functions more efficiently. It also helps to reduce blood pressure, and it even lessens the tendency of the blood to clot.

    While weight loss is recommended, if one is obese as part of the fight against heart disease, running and aerobic exercises can prevent problems associated with obesity, even if weight loss isn't the result.

    According to the The Journal of the American Medical Association, those who exercised more in studies conducted received the most benefits. Running and Fit News then reported, "Within the limits of this study it appears that with every additional mile you run, your body is producing more protection and less destruction of your arteries." Building up cardiovascular strength and lengthening the time commitment to exercising appears to be beneficial for heart disease prevention as well.

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    Types of Exercise for Heart Health

    Stretching is an important part of any exercise program. You should stretch before any type of aerobic or anaerobic exercises. Aside from its necessity as part of other workout programs. Stretching on its own increases flexibility and your range of motion.

    Aerobic exercise is the most important exercise that you can do for your heart. It provides maximum health benefits. According to Web MD, aerobic workouts can ultimately decrease both your heart rate and blood pressure. That can go a long way to preventing heart problems.

    Strength training exercise builds muscular strength. Although strength training workouts are not recommended for people with a history of heart failure, strength training exercises can be a great compliment to aerobic workouts when one is trying to lose weight. Since weight loss is ultimately important for improving heart health, this type of exercise is beneficial for many people hoping to prevent heart disease.

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    Additional Benefits

    Exercise reduces stress, and stress is a contributing factor to high blood pressure and subsequent heart problems. Exercise relaxes the blood vessels and improves blood flow, according to an AARP article by Hunter Freeman. As it improves your circulation, it assists your body in utilizing oxygen better. Weight loss is often also the result, and that, in turn, improves heart health and the overall well-being of the individual.