How To Give Your Arteries A Workout
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How To Give Your Arteries A Workout

Aerobic exercise is good for everyone, but it's essential for arterial health. A study of 3,000 men at the University of North Carolina found that those who exercise the least had an even greater risk of dying from stroke than did smokers. Here are the things you can do lightly to be able to have a normal blood pressure and have a healthy heart.

Aerobic exercise is good for everyone, but it's essential for arterial health. A study of 3,000 men at the University of North Carolina found that those who exercise the least had an even greater risk of dying from stroke than did smokers. How does it work? 

  • Regular exercise can reduce and prevent high blood pressure.
  • Exercise strengthens your heart, so that it can do the same amount of work with fewer beats—and slows down atherosclerosis.
  • Exercise helps prevent blood clots from forming. "Those who are the most physically fit may dissolve clots the fastest," says Edward R. Eichner, M.D., of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
  • Exercise speeds the loss of excess fat, which itself cuts your chances of developing hypertension and high cholesterol levels. The higher your level of fitness, the lower your level of cholesterol.
  • Exercise works off stress—and constant unrelieved stress increases your risk of high blood pressure. 

And best of all, a good exercise program will take a minuscule 1 percent of your time—that's 2 hours out of a 168-hour week. Dr. Eichner's studies show that as little as 5 minutes of strenuous exercise can give your bloodstream 90 minutes worth of "fibrinolysis," the body's own blood clot dissolvers. 

So what are you waiting for? 

Get your doctor's okay. If you haven't had a physical exam in the last year, your doctor will probably want to give you one. He or she may also want you to take an exercise stress test. An hour or two in the doctor's office can help both of you determine the kind and intensity of exercise you need. 

Start walking. It's probably the easiest, fastest, and cheapest form of exercise, and so it's the one you'll most likely stick with over time. 

Start slowly. That is, begin with 15-minute walks three times a week. You want to condition yourself gradually--blister and aching legs from starting off at too fast a pace can discourage you. Regular exercise may lower blood pressure four or five points, but if you quit exercising, your blood pressure will rise again. Your ultimate goal should be a 4-mile-per-hour pace—that's a "brisk" walk. 

When you feel ready, increas your walking time to 30 minutes per workout. Then, add two more days of walking each week for a total of five days. When you’re at your sixth week of walking, aim to cover 2 miles in your half hour walk by picking up your pace. Now you're walking briskly. Eventually try to increase your walks to 45 minutes or even 60 minutes a day. 

Aerobicize. If walking isn’t' your thing, or if you'd like some variety, try cycling or aerobic dance for 30 to 60 minutes, three times a week.

The key to having successful exercise program is to do it regularly and consistently.

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Comments (1)

I love this tips and reminders...

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