Heart Disease and Your Enemy #3

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. It must have been an evening of love and chocolates for you. That is good. Love and happiness are good for your heart. As they say, “Make love, not funeral plans.” And there is science behind that. It keeps your life active. People who have more sex live longer than those you don’t. Married people and people in healthy relationships live longer than lonely people.

Chocolates are good for your heart. But they are high in calories so if you are going to eat chocolates then you have to make adjustments to your calorie intake for that day. Evidence based recipe for a perfect meal (called polymeal) include wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruits, vegetables, garlic and almonds. Dark chocolates daily (100 grams) reduce blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases by 21 per cent.

Let us go back to our enemy No. 3 – inactivity.

Being a couch potato is hazardous to your health. Being active is good for your health. That is obvious, right? Am I insulting your intelligence by writing such simple and obvious facts?

We have couch potatoes in all age groups. They watch too much TV or spend too much time on the Internet. While they do that they eat junk food. Inactivity plus junk food equals bad news for your heart as you get older. Regular physical activity makes your heart strong.

In sedentary people or couch potatoes, the risk of heart attack was seven times higher in a German study and more than 100 times greater in a U.S. study during vigorous exertion than during lighter activity or no activity. If you compare this to among people who exercised regularly, there was almost no increased risk. Another beneficial effect of regular exercise is that it increases the blood level of HDL (good cholesterol). HDL is another line of defense against heart attack.

The type and amount of exercise required to be fit and healthy depends on your age, your health and your current state of physical fitness. There are three types of exercises: aerobic, weight lifting (resistance training) and stretching. A good exercise program should benefit all three aspects of fitness: stamina, flexibility and strength.

A study found that 150 minutes a week (two and a half hours) of a moderate exercise such as walking and 75 minutes per week (an hour and 15 minutes) of activity like easy jogging provides good health benefits.

It has been estimated that people who are physically active for approximately seven hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week.

Be active, do whatever you can and have fun. If it is not fun then don’t do it. Find a partner, join a group, get a dog and just go for a walk. You can celebrate Valentine’s Day every day. Who cares, as long as you are having fun…right?

Ok, get moving now.

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