Basic Facts

  • Studies have proven that exercise can lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and reduce the chances for heart attacks and many other cardiovascular diseases. 
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that men and women of all ages get 30 minutes of moderate exercise five or more days a week.
  • Unfortunately, more than 60 percent of Americans do not get the recommended amount of activity. 
  • Small changes in physical activity, like walking more to do errands, can benefit one's health.
older people exercising

There are four main types of physical activity:

  • Aerobic exercise,
  • Strength exercise, 
  • Flexibility and balance exercise, and
  • Lifestyle exercise.

All types of exercise have benefits. Besides benefiting heart and vascular health, exercise can improve mood, reduce stress, lower the risk of falls, increase bone strength, and ease arthritis pain.

Conditions Helped By Exercise

Exercise will lower the risk for many cardiovascular diseases, including:

  • Angina pectoris,
  • Aortoiliac occlusive disease,
  • Congestive heart failure,
  • Peripheral arterial disease,
  • Diabetic vascular disease,
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy,
  • Heart attack,
  • Hypertension,
  • Hyperlipidemia,
  • Pulmonary embolism,
  • Pulmonary hypertension,
  • Kidney disease,
  • Stroke, and
  • Visceral artery conditions.

Exercise may also reduce the risk for certain types of cancer such as colon and breast cancer.

Getting Started

The American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that the following groups of people talk to their physician before they start exercising:

  • Adults with chronic disease such as heart disease, obesity, or diabetes,
  • Adults at high risk for heart disease, and
  • Men over age 40 and women over age 50 who are inactive or plan to significantly increase their activity.

The physician may also conduct tests for heart conditions in overweight or obese patients or those with a history of cardiovascular disease. 

Most people are eligible to begin an exercise program. 

Exercising FAQ