Regular exercise has a significant impact on morbidity and mortality from coronary artery disease – fitter individuals have a 20 to 55 percent higher chance of surviving. A heart attack survivor who participates in a regular exercise program may lower the risk of a second heart attack as much as 78 percent. Even more importantly, regular exercise can improve many other risk factors. Exercise can help lower blood pressure, normalize blood lipids, control type 2 diabetes, and reduce body fat.
While regular exercise can have a significant impact on the control of heart disease, starting and maintaining a regular exercise program requires motivation and persistence.
The important components of health-related fitness are:
While cardiovascular endurance may be the most important component for most people, each of the other areas can play a significant role in overall health and particularly in a person's functional ability. For example, lack of muscular strength and joint range of motion may greatly limit activities of daily living; regular exercise can help remove those limitations.
Aerobic exercises improve the ability of the heart and vascular system to transport oxygen to the active organs and tissues of the body. Aerobic exercises can include walking, jogging, swimming, rowing, cycling, hiking, cross-country-skiing, rope skipping, and vigorous dancing.
Exercises for muscular strength and muscular endurance include lifting weights or using rubber stretch bands for resistance. This "resistance training" increases both the overall strength and endurance of the specific muscles used in the training exercises. Increased strength and endurance enable you to successfully complete particular tasks with less fatigue.
Flexibility and joint range of motion is improved with a stretching routine for the various muscles and joints of both the upper and lower body.
Both a good aerobic workout and resistance training can have a significant impact on body fat and lean body mass. A low body fat and a higher lean body mass benefit your blood lipid values, blood pressure, and blood glucose control.
The specific type of exercise program you should undertake depends on your health, current fitness level, and exercise goals. Work with your doctor and other professionals to determine your personal goals and a safe. Here are some specific dos and don'ts: