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Exercise and Preventing Heart Disease in Aussie Men

Cardiovascular disease is a broad term that includes diseases and conditions that impact the heart and blood vessels. These include: coronary heart disease (most common cause of heart attack), heart failure, arrhythmia, angina and more. 


Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world. Roughly 26% of all deaths and 11% of all hospitalisations are delegated to cardiovascular disease in Australia, with over 80% of cases being people aged over 55 years.


Heart disease in men

This disease is responsible for 40% more deaths in men than women even though more men are admitted to hospital for heart disease every year. 


Cardiovascular disease has a strong correlation with risk factors including smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, physical inactivity, overweight/obesity, and depression.


It’s evident that men seem to neglect their health or even ignore the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease which includes:

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Discomfort or tightening in your chest lasting 30 minutes to a few hours
  • Unexplained pain in your upper torso, neck and jaw
  • A heart rate that is faster, slower or more irregular than usual
  • Dizziness or fainting

A visit to a doctor or health professional can set you on the right track to avoiding a heart attack and improving your health.


Exercise benefits

Exercise is great for the heart as it prevents cardiovascular disease but also rehabilitates the heart after an event like a heart attack.


We all know that the heart is a muscle and just like all of our other muscles, it benefits from exercise. Regular exercise will slow down the heart but make it stronger and will reduce blood pressure. Evidence shows that exercise assists our body in the processing of cholesterol, sugars and fats, improving our overall health.


If you need any assistance with monitoring and managing your heart health, an accredited exercise physiologist will provide you with individualised advice.


The best types of exercise

Aerobic and strength training are the main types of exercise that are known to improve heart health. Aerobic exercise includes continuous, repetitive movements of large muscle groups including walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, tennis and many more. The goal is to aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. You can also do a combination of both.


Strength training is performing exercises against a resistance whether that be your body weight, resistance bands, machines, or weights. It is important that your exercise program is individualised for you and based on assessment prior to beginning the program. 


References

Right, E. (2021b, June 11). The Benefits of Exercise to Prevent Heart Disease in Aussie Men. Exercise Right. https://exerciseright.com.au/the-benefits-of-exercise-to-prevent-heart-disease-in-aussie-men/