We cannot stress enough how important exercise is in for a healthy heart and lowering blood pressure. Being a coach potato, smoking, and high blood pressure create the perfect storm for heart disease or a fatal cardiac event . Exercise can protect you even from a stroke. So what changes occur in your body when you exercise?

  1. You lose weight. Excess weight causes a strain on your heart causing it to work harder.
  2. You lower your risk of high blood pressure.
  3. Exercise lowers blood pressure in people who have high blood pressure.
  4. It raises your HDL’s (High Density Lipoprotein)  or “good,” cholesterol.
  5. It Lowers your LDL’s (Low Density Lipoprotein) or “bad,” cholesterol.
  6. Lowers the amount of triglycerides, a form of fat, in your bloodstream.

So what exercise is best for you? You do not have to strain yourself by being a powerlifter. Moderate exercise 30 minutes a day 5 days a week is the recommendation. Moderate exercise can include walking, gardening, doing housework, and dancing.

Start out by exercising slowly, especially if you haven’t been active for a while. This will allow your muscles to warm up. Gradually build up how hard, how long and how often you exercise. Be careful though. Overdoing exercise increases the risk of injury. Listen to your body and don’t ignore any pain in your joints, ankles, feet or legs. If you stretch before exercising, do so gently. Also, take plenty of time to stretch at the end of each session. This can help you become more flexible.

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