Exercise and Heart Disease

Exercise and Heart Disease

Exercise reduces body weight, reduces the risk of getting diabetes, lowers blood pressure and keeps the arteries of the heart in tip-top condition.

There are three important parts to exercise. This is duration (how long), intensity (how fast), and frequency (how often). Although all parts are important, the good news is that low intensity workouts can be beneficial if done for enough time and on a regular basis.

The average 70 kg person burns about 110 calories whether he runs or walks a mile but it would take longer time to cover that distance by walking. The American College of Sport Medicine recommends burning a 1000 calories a week through exercise.

Exercise does not need to be done in one setting but can be done in intervals. Integrating exercise into a regular work routine can be helpful (eg. Taking the bus/MRT one stop prior to your destination. Parking your car further away from the exits. Taking the elevator to a level below your destination and walking up the stairs for the rest)

Numerous studies have shown exercise and its benefit on heart health. In the 1990s, the Honolulu Heart Study looked at older men aged above 70 with the oldest person aged 93. They found that men who walked more had a 50% less chance of developing heart disease than men who were sedentary. Another recent study done in the United Kingdom showed that people who cycled or walked to work also were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke then those who took public transport or drove.

Facts From The British Heart Foundation

  • Only 3 out of 10 people do enough exercise but 8 out of 10 think they do
  • 10,000 steps equals about 5 miles
  • Most of us only walk 4500 steps a day
  • In 1975, we walked 255 miles a year, in 2007, 192 miles
  • If present habits continue, by 2010, one in four people will not fit in a standard office chair
  • 37% of coronary heart disease deaths are related to inactivity, compared to 19% related to smoking


This is a small device that measures your steps. This can be useful in tracking your activity level and can act as a motivation to increase your physical exercise. A good goal to achieve would be to walk about 10,000 steps per day. This should be done by increasing the number of steps by 500 every week until this goal is reached.

Who is Exercise For?

The simple answer is that exercise is for everyone. In particular, people who have heart disease can reduce their risk of a recurrence by exercising. Persons who are overweight can also benefit. For patients with diabetes, exercise has been shown to reduce both risk of kidney and heart complications and result in an increased lifespan. Please check with your doctors first if exercise is safe for you.