The Best Treatment For Preventing Heart Disease is Free!
There is a treatment available that can reduce the risk of heart disease more than any diet, drug or surgery. This same treatment promotes weight loss, reduces stress, improves mental function, can prevent diabetes and osteoporosis, has very few side effects and is free. What is this miracle treatment? Physical activity.
Regular activity might be the single most important therapy to reduce the risk of heart disease-the number one health problem in this country. Simply walking for thirty minutes, three times a week can reduce the risk of a heart attack by up to fifty percent. Put another way, the risk of a sedentary lifestyle is equal to the risk of smoking over a pack of cigarettes a day.
Americans don't get enough exercise. Only fifteen percent of adults get the physical activity that they should, according to the US Center for Disease Control. They recommend at least thirty minutes of any type of leisure time activity 4 to 5 times per week. A staggering forty percent-almost half of American adults-report no leisure-time activity at all.
For a person with risk factors for heart disease or those who already have a heart problem, regular physical activity is one of the most important parts of treatment and prevention. Exercise is often more important than diet, medicine, and, sometimes, surgery.
Activity doesn't just help prevent heart disease. It can improve or prevent diabetes, osteoporosis, stress and depression, back pain, constipation, weight loss and even improve your memory.
That's right, regular walking can improve your mental function, according to researchers at the University of Illinois. They conducted a study where healthy, inactive people with an average age of seventy were tested for memory and ability to focus and maintain attention. Half of the group was assigned to regular stretching and toning and the other half walked briskly on a treadmill for thirty minutes, three times per week.
The group that walked had an average fifteen percent improvement in attention, focus and memory after six months compared to the stretching group. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers also used brain scans to show increased connections between parts of the brain. And these changes corresponded to improved mental function.
The health benefits of more physical activity have not escaped the attention of health care experts. The US Department of Health and Human Services has a campaign to improve the health of Americans. It is called Healthy People 2010. Increasing the activity of Americans is an important part of their goal.
"Physical inactivity is a major modifiable risk factor...and should be a direct target for clinical intervention," according to the Expert Panel of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. More doctors and patients should regard activity as a part of therapy.
Many people are reluctant to start an exercise program. The first thing to realize is that any physical activity is good. It is true that the more exercise you get the better, but just walking a few times a week is a huge step in the right direction for someone who is usually inactive.
If you plan to begin a program with vigorous activity, you may need to consult your doctor first.
TIPS TO HELP YOU START AND STICK TO A Program
It can be hard to fit exercising into a busy schedule. However, keep in mind thirty minutes is not a long time. Thirty minutes flies by when you're watching television or reading the newspaper. So make the commitment and find time in your day. Your health and wellbeing will benefit greatly. And it's FREE.
- Choose something that is fun like a sport activity or dancing
- Make the activity more fun by listening to music or watching TV, or walk to an interesting place
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Do yard work or housework more regularly or a little faster
- Get a partner to keep you exercising regularly
- Choose a variety of activities to keep it interesting
- Park your car farther from your work and walk for fifteen minutes to and from work
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"The Best Treatment For Preventing Heart Disease is Free!"
Dr. Johnson graduated from the George Washington University School of Medicine, and completed his cardiology training at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. He currently practices at Stanford University Medical Center and serves...