Affecting approximately 5.7 million people in the United States alone, congestive heart failure was a contributing cause to roughly one in nine deaths in 2009 alone. Coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes are all risk factors for CHF, but lifestyle choices can significantly increase your risk of developing heart failure. Tobacco use, obesity, a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute to heart failure.
Fortunately, regular exercise and physical activity can help to prevent CHF.
The Role Exercise Plays in Warding Off Congestive Heart Failure
While most people know that quitting tobacco use and maintaining a heart-healthy diet are important tools for heart health, the role of exercise in preventing CHF isn’t always as well-publicized.
A study published in Curr Opin Cardiol indicates a sedentary lifestyle is actually an important risk factor for the development of congestive heart failure, and that an adequate exercise plan can be instrumental in preventing and slowing the progression of CHF.
This lies in how CHF affects the body, and how exercise can combat or prevent those effects. Congestive heart failure affects your cardiac muscles’ ability to adequately supply the rest of your body with oxygen-rich blood, causing what is known as reduced cardiac output.
Aerobic exercise, resistance training and other forms of exercise increase cardiac output, thereby mitigating or potentially preventing congestive heart failure altogether. Several studies show that minimizing sedentary time and increasing physical activity are heavily associated with lowered CHF risk. Regular exercise and a reasonable level of physical activity can even reduce your risk of congestive heart failure if you have other risk factors for developing the condition.
How to Decrease Your Heart Failure Risk
Working closely with your doctor to develop an exercise plan can be instrumental in warding off congestive heart failure, particularly if there are other risk factors for CHF at play. By working with a healthcare provider to ensure you’re appropriately active, you can create an entire lifestyle plan designed to help you minimize your risk of developing congestive heart failure.
At North Star Medical, we’re committed to helping our patients live their best, healthiest lives. If you’re worried about your likelihood of developing CHF, have other health concerns or just need to establish care in a high-quality care setting, call today to schedule an appointment. Together, we can work to lower your risks while improving your overall quality of life.