Pampana Gowd, MD is a cardiologist and wellness advocate at Hackensack University Medical Center. In the following article, Pampana Gowd discusses how exercise improves cardiac health, and reduces the risk of preventable diseases, like Type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Obesity is a complex but widespread issue throughout the United States of America. Not only does it increase the risks of Type 2 diabetes, but it also heightens the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Thankfully, Pampana Gowd, MD reports that it isn’t all doom and gloom — exercise has been proven to prevent the onset and development of cardiovascular disease and improve overall cardiac health, according to research found in the National Library of Medicine.
Pampana Gowd on the Leading Cause of Mortality and Morbidity Across the Globe
Unsurprisingly, the statistics for CVD are scary. Approximately half of all adults in the United States of America have one or more key risk factors for developing cardiovascular diseases, such as high cholesterol, smoking, or high blood pressure.
Pampana Gowd, MD says that cardiovascular disease encompasses an array of conditions affecting the heart and vasculature structure, like dilated cardiomyopathies, heart failure, and arrhythmias.
Therefore, determining therapeutic tools to prevent or reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease is vital for public health. And physical activity is one of them.
How Exercise Improves Cardiovascular Health
Experts state one of the most prominent risk factors causing CVD is a sedentary lifestyle characterized by consistently low activity levels and obesity. So, lifestyle interventions that focus on increasing exercise and decreasing obesity are effective methods to combat an array of cardiovascular disease types reports Pampana Gowd, MD.
Decreases Cardiovascular Risk Factors
Numerous clinical trials have shown that moderate exercise and a nutritious diet have improved cardiovascular health among those who are deemed “at risk” of developing CVD. Patients who participated in the studies through a four-month program of either exercise or caloric restriction experienced:
- reduced systolic, mean, and diastolic arterial blood pressure; and
- lower lipoprotein cholesterol.
Pampana Gowd, MD says other research found that similar cardiovascular improvements are experienced in lean individuals. A one-year study conducted on non-obese people involved increasing energy expenditure by 16% to 20% without changing their diet. The results showed a 22.3% decrease in body fat mass, alongside lowered CVD-related risk factors.
Improves Cardiovascular Function in People with CVD
A review of 63 studies showed patients with already developed CVD benefit from increased physical activity.
The review certified that exercise reduced CVD-related mortality, improved patients’ overall quality of life, and decreased the risk of MI. Those who performed one hour of exercise per day for just four weeks experienced a 29%-raised blood flow reserve and enhanced endothelium-dependent vasodilatation.
Dr. Gowd states that this research and similar studies worked to negate the historical method of prescribing bed rest for heart failure patients. Nowadays, those who’ve suffered heart failure are given monitored rehab programs, including moderate exercise to improve cardiovascular function.
Even more recent investigations have concluded that high-intensity exercise is beneficial for heart failure patients — in a monitored, professionally prescribed environment, of course.
Provides Whole-Body Changes for Improved Cardiac Function
Exercise provides a wide range of benefits that work in conjunction to benefit cardiac function and health. Increasing physical exercises offers whole-body changes (specifically oxygen delivery, vasculature, inflammation, and peripheral tissues) to decrease CVD risk factors and improve well-being.
Betters Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Function
Many exercise-induced benefits are all thanks to mitochondrial adaptations around the body.
For instance, activity improves cardiorespiratory long-term by skyrocketing mitochondrial content and desaturating myoglobin found in skeletal muscle tissue. Overall, this increases oxygen uptake and utilization and protects against obesity-elated arteriovenous oxygen difference.
Pampana Gowd, MD says that the changes experienced by the body’s mitochondria through exercise prevent oxidative damage and protect against ischemia-reperfusion damage in the heart.
Enhances Vasculature and Myocardial Perfusion
Physical training creates vascular adaptions in many tissues. But, in the heart, the changes protect against vascular stress, limiting the likelihood of atherosclerosis, ischemia, thrombosis, or another cardiac event.
Inflammation is a normal biological response to damaging occurrences. Chronic inflammation has been linked to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
But luckily, Pampana Gowd, MD says that exercise has been shown to provide long-term anti-inflammatory effects. The increased activity is known to decrease monocyte accumulation and prevent the release of TNF-a and other inflammatory adipokines, providing anti-inflammatory relief.
Improves Inter-tissue Communication
Skeletal muscle stimulates the production and usage of certain myokines (i.e., chemical messengers that influence crosstalk between organs). Exercise prompts increased myokines, which are linked to cardiovascular health protection and improvement.