Weight loss or exercise? Which is more important for a healthy heart?
According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, when it comes to heart disease prevention, it may be more important for a woman to be fit than thin.
After studying more than 900 women, of which 76 percent were overweight, over a four year period, Dr. Timothy Wessel of the University of Florida concluded, “Our study shows that the lack of physical fitness is a stronger risk factor for developing heart disease than being overweight or obese.”
During the study, 50 percent of the women suffered coronary disease related problems such as a heart attack or stroke. Researchers then analyzed the results by categories of weight and activity. They discovered that the women who were more active on a regular basis, no matter how much they weighed, had stronger, healthier hearts than the less active women.
Physical activity, even if it’s just something simple like walking up a flight of stairs or around the block, has beneficial effects on many factors related to heart disease. The benefits of exercise even include weight loss. That’s why the American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity at least five days a week, for both prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease.
Of course, even though physical activity may be more important than weight loss as a preventive and treatment factor for heart disease, being overweight or obese is still a risk factor. And maintaining a healthy normal weight also reduces the risk of many other serious conditions, including osteoarthritis, psychological disorders and even some types of cancer.
When you get right down to it, to live a long, healthy, satisfying life, the answer is still the same. Eat right, exercise daily and, as Bobby McFerrin says, “Don’t worry, be happy.”
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.