It’s Official: Exercise is Good For You

clip-art-walking-940x198Almost all the publicity on the recent guidelines from the American Heart Association has centered on the use of statins.  However a whole section was devoted to “Life Style Changes”.  A group of experts reviewed the literature from 2001 onwards and concluded that aerobic physical activity such as brisk walking for 40 minutes at a time done 3 to 4 times per week will reduce blood pressure on average by 2 to 5 points systolic (the higher number) and 1 to 4 points diastolic (the lower number).  Though that might not seem like a lot for many people it can be the difference between going on blood pressure medicines or having to increase the dose to get to goal.

Similarly, moderate physical activity will lower LDL (lousy cholesterol) by 3-6 mg.  More intensive physical activity results in further decreases.  The effects on HDL or good cholesterol is less clear.

Importantly, dietary changes such as more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains. and low fat products, in conjunction with exercise and weight loss, all help make for a healthier heart.

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