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WHEN IT COMES TO HEART HEALTH, DON’T MISS A BEAT

Posted Jul 28 2011 7:06pm
Some good news has come out of a new study that looked into most effective ways to prevent sudden cardiac death: maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise significantly reduces the risk of this condition. The research, published in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, focused on women. However, its findings are also relevant for men. This is yet another body of medical evidence that clearly shows the benefits of a healthy lifestyle that includes physical fitness.

In the United States, sudden cardiac arrest, a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, causes more than 300,000 deaths every year. Among main risk factors are heart disease, obesity, smoking, and inactivity. All these factors are inter-related. Sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity, which, in turn, can cause heart disease – the leading killer of Americans. And, of course, smoking is harmful to health in general. The new study, however, found that those who don’t smoke, eat sensibly, maintain healthy weight, and exercise regularly, can lower their risk of sudden cardiac death by more than 90 percent.

Sometimes, even the simplest preventive measures can go a long way. These new findings prove once again that physical activity and other healthy habits are real lifesavers. When it comes to preventing potentially serious complications of  disease – including sudden cardiac arrest – regular exercise is beneficial in several ways. If you are overweight, it will help you lose the extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. It will also strengthen your cardiovascular system.

While any regimen that keeps you moving is beneficial, interval training, which alternates a high-intensity workout with periods of low-intensity activity or rest, is especially effective in improving cardiovascular fitness and the body’s potential to burn fat. It provides a great workout for your heart, dramatic weight loss results, and a leaner shape in less time than many other programs.

Those who already have heart disease or any other medical condition should consult a doctor before starting interval training. In any case, there are plenty of other, less strenuous exercises that you could safely do to get yourself – and your heart – in the best possible shape.
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