November Newsletter – Exercise for Heart Health

heart health


It can be daunting trying to understand what you should and shouldn’t do if you have some form of heart disease. Exercise often falls in this category with conflicting advice given on what is safe and appropriate.

Correctly prescribed exercise can be used in two ways: – to prevent the development of heart disease and to help treat and manage the disease and symptoms. Research indicates that correctly used exercise can be as effective as common medications in managing theses conditions. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in Australia, killing one person every 12 minutes.

Two of the most common forms of heart disease are:
Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) – occurring when the heart can no longer effectively pump blood to the lungs and rest of the body.
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) – occurring when the blood flow through the coronary arteries, which supply the heart muscle with oxygen, is restricted.

Exercise is vital to manage the above conditions but also one of the best ways to help prevent them.
For example:
Regular exercise can help reduce the LDL (bad cholesterol) build up in your arteries and increase the HDL (good cholesterol) which works on top of this to further remove LDL deposits.
With as little as three minutes of appropriately prescribed exercise you can reduce your systolic (the upper value) blood pressure immediately, an exercise session can reduce your BP for up to 24 hours. Frequent exercise can provide a chronic effect of lowering your blood pressure. All of which reduce your risk of heart disease.
High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease.

As your blood pressure increases above the normal range of 120/80mmhg your risk of CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) also increases. It is also important to remember that not only does your risk of CVD increase dramatically if you don’t meet physical activity guidelines but it also increases with more sedentary time.Current guidelines state that you should aim for 150minutes (2.5hours) of moderate intensity activity each week. That is exercise that makes you breathe harder and makes your heart beat faster, but still allows you to hold a conversation without getting short of breath.

Exercise can be made up of aerobic exercise or resistance training. Both work in different ways to help reduce your risk or treat your symptoms of heart disease.

If you have a chronic disease it is recommended that you consult an Accredited Exercise Physiologist before you commence exercise as they will being able to conduct the appropriate exercise testing and prescribe a program tailored to your functional capacity, physical limitations, and exercise and medical history.

If you don’t have a chronic condition but are interested in reducing your risk and improving your health it is important to remember that any exercise is better than none. Find something that you enjoy and feel comfortable doing. If you need advice on setting goals or a plan, or even a program prescribed for you; an Accredited Exercise Physiologist or Accredited Exercise Scientist are ideally trained to assist.

Exercise Physiology is an effective way to manage chronic disease and injury. At Motion Health we specialise in Exercise Physiology and will discuss a program that suits your lifestyle, age and fitness. We are open 6 days a week.