A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Heart disease and the benefits of exercise

Senior couple walking in a park - Exercise for coronary heart disease

Finding exercise you enjoy and can do consistently helps your heart health.

The effects of coronary heart disease can be improved or in some cases eliminated if you take the proper steps, including regular exercise.

What is coronary heart disease?

“The heart, like any organ, needs arteries to supply it with blood. Sometimes minor to severe blockages in those arteries can slow or stop blood from getting to the heart. When these arteries narrow, that is what we call coronary heart disease,” said Dr. Shereif Rezkalla, a Marshfield Clinic Health System cardiologist.

These blockages can grow slowly over time or rupture. When blockages rupture, they may expand quickly and lead to a serious event like a heart attack.

Symptoms of coronary heart disease

Several symptoms could indicate an artery blockage including:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Heart attack

“Of course, on the other hand, 30 percent of people have no symptoms of a blockage,” Rezkalla said.

Exercise helps

Exercise is important for everyone to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates about 3.2 million deaths occur each year because people do not get enough physical activity.

Even if you already have coronary heart disease, exercise along with medication can help reverse its effects. Other things that help include quitting smoking, a healthy diet and finding ways that work for you to get rid of stress.

Rezkalla said any kind of exercise that is sustained and consistent, whether it’s cardio, weight lifting, yoga or something else, provides benefits to your heart and helps manage heart disease. He suggests exercising for 30 minutes every day.

“Every patient with cardiovascular disease needs to exercise,” Rezkalla said. “The intensity of your workout should be dictated by how you feel and what your body can handle. Find exercise that works for you and that you enjoy. The idea is not to exhaust you, but to make your body have a sustained activity.”

If you have questions about your heart health, talk with your provider.

One Response
  1. Feb 7, 2019

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