Exercise for healthy hearts and minds

 

Dear Dr. Mo: I’m a guy in my late 40s, not overweight and I work a lot. Is there something I can easily do to stay healthy and live longer?

Dear reader: Many things are important as we age, and this goes for both sexes, not just men: blood sugar levels, blood pressure, mobility and fitness, risks for cancer, heart and mental health.
For us men, I would say that the latter two are really important and that by maintaining them we surely improve all other parameters to help us live longer and better although women are no different in this regard.

One simple and effective approach to keeping our hearts healthy and staying mentally sharp is Exercise!
You should get physically active and that’s the easiest way to stay healthy for longer (of course, other factors like diet quality, genetics, stressors, environment etc. come into play as well but exercise is one huge piece of the ‘staying healthy’ equation).

Young or old, we need exercise for a long and healthy life!

Young or old, we need exercise for a long and healthy life!

Heart

Regular exercise is shown to raise the good cholesterol (HDL) levels and reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides. Regular physical activity will burn off your body fat, lower blood sugar levels and lower your blood pressure. These positive effects of exercise are very good for the heart.

If you have a heart condition and especially if you have survived a myocardial infarction (heart attack), exercise will (significantly) reduce the risk of dying from a heart disease. Of course, this exercise-based rehabilitation program must be designed and monitored by your doctor.

Mind

Exercise will keep our blood vessels in good shape and it will reduce chances for stroke. Fit blood vessels also contribute to healthy blood pressure levels.

Data suggests that regular physical activity may help defend against Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

Pain negatively impacts the mind. Exercise (walking and controlled muscle strength exercise) helps to reduce back pain and helps in venting out negative energy and stress, which also eases the mind.

As you can see, there are many great benefits from physical activity so get out there and get active! If you need a quick idea on how to organize your exercise time, check out my recent post on ways to shuffle around the recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week.

Yours in health,

Dr. Mo