In my last article I mentioned the effects of walking. In this article I want to take that a little further and also cover some other things you can try to keep your heart in perfect condition.

If you only need to fit in four 10 minute walks a day to show an improvement in heart function this makes exercising so much easier. For example you can…

Use stairs instead of lifts or escalators. When you’re at home you can climb the stairs whilst waiting for your television programme to start.

For a little variety and to use different muscles you could even try taking the stairs two at a time or increase the speed you go up them.

Walk whenever you can. Park a little bit further away from your destination if you take the car, or get off the bus a stop earlier than usual. When you are walking look for a few “long cuts”.

Don’t always try to find the shortest route between where you are and where you want to be. Look for a longer rather than shorter path and you’ll be surprised at how quickly the minutes and the miles clock up and you may even start to discover things about your neighbourhood that you never knew existed.

When unloading the shopping from the car or the washing from the tumble drier or washing machine make more journeys than you would normally. Carry one bag of shopping at a time into the house or when unloading the machine make one trip where you carry the underwear, one where you carry shirts, trousers etc. It may take a couple of minutes more but it will be worth it!

Take up dancing. There are many styles to choose from so you should be able to find one that suits you. Not only will you be able to meet new people and make new friends but you will be surprised at the number of miles you can cover whilst spending time on the dance floor.

Learn a new sport such as golf, tennis or badminton. Even something that seems relatively sedate like indoor bowls still involves a tremendous amount of walking as you follow up behind your bowl, check the scoring bowls and change ends. If you join groups that are active like hiking or cycling clubs you will be both exercising and socialising.

Another published study (1) confirms that even a little bit of exercise does you good. Researchers challenged a group of 106 sedentary (but healthy) civil servants to take part in an exercise programme or do nothing for three months. A third of the group were told to walk briskly for 30 minutes a day, five days a week whilst another third were told to briskly walk for 30 minutes a day, three days a week and the remainder were told not to change their lifestyle at all.

The participants had their blood pressure, blood cholesterol, weight, hip and waist size and overall fitness measured before and after the study and the results were then compared. Those that took part in the exercise programme showed decreases in their systolic blood pressure and their waist and hip measurements also shrank significantly. Although the changes were greater in the group that exercised the most they were still significant enough in the reduced exercise group to positively influence their health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Unsurprisingly, there were no changes in the group that didn’t participate in any exercise.

Investigators from Japan published an article (2) in which they collected and assessed 35 studies concerning the effects of exercise on cholesterol levels and in particular good cholesterol. Their research showed that across the studies, those that exercised had a significant increase in good cholesterol of about 2.5 mg/dL.

Because your risk of heart problems is thought to drop by 2 - 3 percent for each 1 mg/dL increase in HDL, a 2.5 mg/dL rise amounts to a 5 - 7.5 percent drop in cardiac risk which is a substantial reduction.

Exercising doesn't just improve your cardiovascular health it also increases your life expectancy. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine (3) showed that compared with men who did little physical activity level, those with moderate and high physical activity levels lived between 1.3 and 3.7 longer and had 1.1 and 3.2 more years without cardiovascular disease. For women, the corresponding differences were an increase of 1.5 and 3.5 years in life expectancy, and 1.3 and 3.3 more years lived free of cardiovascular problems.

The authors stated that “avoiding a sedentary lifestyle during adulthood not only prevents cardiovascular disease independently of other risk factors but also substantially expands the total life expectancy and the cardiovascular disease-free life expectancy for men and women. This effect is already seen at moderate levels of physical activity, and the gains in cardiovascular disease-free life expectancy are twice as large at higher activity levels.”

If you do decide to start up an exercise routine (and I would suggest that you seriously think about it) there are a few little pointers I would recommend.

These are...

1. Don't eat anything heavy a couple of hours before vigorous exercise.

2. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workout – water is ideal.

3. Adjust your activity according to how you are feeling on that day and the weather – don't try to do to much if you don't feel up to it, you are tired or ill and don't over exert if it is too hot.

4. Listen to your body. If your exercise regime induces chest pain, irregular heartbeat, undue aches, pains or tiredness, nausea, unexpected breathlessness or light headedness stop what you are doing and if the feelings do not subside see your doctor.

5. Remember to have a warm-up and cool-down period.

1. Tully, M. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Vol. 61: pages 778-783.

2. Effect of aerobic exercise training on serum levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Kodama, S. et al. Archives of Internal Medicine 2007. vol. 167. pages 999-1008.

3. Effects of Physical Activity on Life Expectancy With Cardiovascular Disease. Franco, O.H. et al. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2005. vol. 165: Pages 2355-2360

Author's Bio: 

I have been involved in Chiropractic and healthcare research for over 20 years.

During that time I have spent between 20 and 25 hours per week researching all areas of "alternative" and allopathic healthcare in order to bring the best advice to my patients through both my practice and writing. My latest book "How To Lower Your Cholesterol - Naturally!" ( is THE guide showing you simple ways to lower your cholesterol without drugs, without side-effects and without effort!

Also available is my other book "The Alzheimer's Alternative"
( which I believe to be the definitive guide to Alzheimer's disease, alternative treatment and supplementation.

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