Reducing the Risk of Heart Disease with Physical Activity

A woman sitting in the lotus position with her legs crossed.Written by: Tracey Martino – Personal Training Specialist

Heart disease, also known as Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), is the leading cause of death among adults in Canada. There are biological and behavioral risk factors responsible for CAD. Some of these risk factors cannot be changed, such as age, sex, ethnicity, and family history, while others can be changed to help reduce the risk. These include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and physical activity.

Physical Activity helps with weight control, lowering blood pressure, improves blood lipids (cholesterol), and prevents and treats diabetes. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardiovascular or aerobic activity per week. The activity does not have to be non-stop but should be done in at least 10-minute bouts.

Some examples of moderate and vigorous activity include:
Moderate: brisk walking, biking, raking leaves, swimming, water aerobics, etc.
Vigorous: aerobics, basketball, tennis, hockey, jogging, fast swimming, etc.

A sedentary lifestyle is another risk factor contributing to heart disease. For some, getting started in a daily physical routine can be overwhelming. Incorporating Active Living into one’s lifestyle is an easier and more seamless approach before embarking on a structured program that will require more change, discipline, and motivation. Active Living is a way of life that integrates physical activity into your everyday routine, such as walking to the store, biking to work, and climbing flights of stairs.
Note: Before starting a physical activity program, speak to your healthcare provider.

~Tracey Martino PTS