Getting Heart Smart

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and it’s not difficult to see how this affliction is so tightly yoked to being sat down all day in front of a computer. In fact, research by the American College of Cardiology found that the more you sit each day, the greater your risk of heart disease. So doing the opposite of exercise – sitting – puts your ticker on the back foot but is lacing up your running shoes still the optimum way to grease your body’s primary engine room?

A study in JAMA looked at the different types of exercise and their direct affect on your risk of heart disease, making for very specific results. Men who ran for a mere hour or more each week had a 42% heart disease risk reduction compared to non-runners. Men who trained with weights for 30 minutes or more a week had a 23% risk reduction compared to non-lifters and rowing for 30 minutes a week also saw an 18% reduction in people’s risk. So, the rankings of exercises for your heart, from the most to least effective, look like this: running, weight lifting, rowing and walking.

The researchers did measure cycling and swimming, but found people didn’t do these enough each week to make them worth including. The higher the intensity the stronger your heart gets so even if you hate running do it for a short time each week even if it’s after your lifting session because all you need do is 7 minutes before your workout and another 7 minutes afterwards to put your ticker back in health.


Snack your heart healthier

Whole grains for whole gains

Bite into foods that are rich fibre to make sure your heart drums to a regular beat. Research in The JAMA Network Journals found that eating more whole grains made people live longer and fend off cardiovascular illness such as heart disease. Go for foods such as oats, rye, wild rice and quinoa to get the highest quality whole grains.



As of 2014, just over 29 million people in the US have diabetes with roughly 8 million of those people being undiagnosed, so it’s a silent killer that can affect anyone. Fortunately, it is a manageable illness, but as many as one in five people do not see any blood sugar management when they try an exercise regime, found a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

So, for all that sweating certain people will still be immune to the many health benefits of exercise, which means to prevent and treat it you should hedge all your bets. A study in Diabetologia found that by combining aerobic and resistance training, rather than doing either one alone is the ultimate solution for controlling blood sugar and blood fat profiles. This is pretty simple to achieve, just do a set of a particular exercise then follow it up with a 30 second run on the treadmill. It’s a novel technique called cardioacceleration, which is proven to burn fat and build muscle at the same time.


Eat your way out of diabetes

One the key areas about diabetes is keeping your blood sugars under control and the timing of your training and eating is proving crucial. Research in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that doing exercise after a meal is the best way to reduce glucose and fat levels in your blood. Taking a quick bike ride or a brisk walk after your main meal of the day could be the best way to keep your blood sugar in perfect health.


Excelling In Your Golden Years

As you get older your risk factors for these ailments tends to grow. Fortunately, you can keep winning well into your old age by using the right kind of exercise


Parkinsons Disease

Even diseases that affect your nervous system can be held off by exercise. Research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that high intensity strength training created dramatic improvements in the quality of life, mood and motor function in older patients with Parkinson’s disease. “We saw improvements in strength, muscle size and power, which we expected after rigorous weight training; but we also saw improvement in balance and muscle control,” said Dr. Marcas Bamman the lead author of the study. “We also saw improvement in cognition, mood and sense of well-being.” Those are all outcomes any normal person could expect to gain from strength training so it’s good to know everyone can gain them no matter what.


Alzheimers Disease

This disease can be the thief of memory, but it too has a special brand of fitness that can keep it at bay. Research at the University of Maryland found that just 12 weeks of regular and moderate exercise improved memory and cognitive function in those at risk of Alzheimer’s disease in a way that no drug can match. The exercise modality was a simple treadmill walk done for a weekly total of 150 minutes. That’s something everyone can manage.


Studies adapted with thanks from