Keep at it! Constant exercise keeps your heart healthy


Undergoing yearly exercise training programs can improve the heart health of people with metabolic syndrome, according to a study published in the Journal of Hypertension.

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of conditions occurring together, such as increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels, that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Therefore, it is important for people with metabolic syndrome to take extra measures to prevent or lower their risk of these health conditions, and regular exercise is one of the most common and effective ways to improve health. (Related: Best Exercise to Reverse Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes.)

Researchers from Spain aimed to determine whether repeated yearly training programs can improve blood pressure and metabolic syndrome. In their study, the researchers recruited a total of 49 obese middle-age individuals with metabolic syndrome. Twenty-three of them underwent high-intensity aerobic interval exercise training for four months in three consecutive years, while the other participants remained sedentary to serve as controls.

After the first training program, those who trained experienced improvements in their systolic arterial pressure, blood glucose, waist circumference, and metabolic syndrome. After leaving the program, these improvements went back to their initial levels, except for blood pressure.

At the end of the second training program, participants’ blood glucose and waist circumference levels were reduced again, and even when they were not training, the levels of blood pressure, blood glucose, and metabolic syndrome severity remained lower than those in the control group. These improvements further increased with the last training program.

Moreover, the risk atherosclerosis increased among the participants who remained sedentary within those three years.

The researchers concluded that at least two consecutive years of a four-month aerobic interval exercise can chronically improve metabolic syndrome and improve blood pressure levels, improving heart health. On the other hand, being sedentary for three years increases the risk of atherosclerotic diseases risk in metabolic syndrome patients.

Treating metabolic syndrome

Treating metabolic syndrome is important in order to cut one’s risk of other health complications. Here are some things you can do to treat metabolic syndrome:

  • Eat healthily: One of the key parts of treating metabolic syndrome is to eat healthily. An ideal diet for metabolic syndrome should include a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, skinless poultry, non-fried fish, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. It should not also include processed foods, which are often high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and salt, and foods and beverages with added sugar. It is also recommended to consume enough carotenoids, which is a type of antioxidant found in foods, such as carrots, collards, kale, papaya, peppers, potato, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, sweet potato, and tomatoes. Higher consumption of carotenoid was associated with smaller waistlines, less abdominal fat, and lower levels of triglycerides.
  • Be physically active: Engaging in regular exercise is important in treating metabolic syndrome. In a week, try to get at least 150 minutes of moderately vigorous physical activity. The easiest way to start getting physically active is to talk walks. You may also find other exercises that you enjoy doing and gets your heart rate up. You can also break your exercise into several short 10-minute sessions throughout the day to attain your goal.
  • Keep a healthy weight: Losing weight and keeping it off can reduce the risk of heart disease. Combining regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you lose even more weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Know your recommended calorie intake, the amount of food you consume, and the calories you are burning off with various levels of physical activity.

Read more news stories and studies on preventing heart disease by going to Heart.news.

Sources include:

Science.news

MayoClinic.org

Heart.org

VerywellHealth.com

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