Global Running Day 2023: Amazing benefits of running for your heart health
Running is a great way to beat stress and keep blood pressure in check. Here are all the ways it can help keep your heart healthy.
Running or jogging not only fills your heart with joy but can also keep it free from any disease. Aerobic exercises can benefit your cardiovascular in a number of ways from lowering blood pressure, improving heart rate to keeping cholesterol in check. Studies say that regular runners enjoy good heart health as the exercise can help prevent blood clots in the arteries. Running is also a great way to lose weight and thus reducing risk of obesity which is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease. However, in case of any chronic disease, injury or surgery, you must consult your health expert before going for a run. (Also read: Running for our lives)
"Exercise (including running) is the best and most effective way of preventing heart disease. The benefits of regular physical activity on heart have been proven scientifically by multiple trials done over last 4-5 decades. These studies have shown a strong and consistent relationship between lack of physical activity and increased cardiovascular disease events and mortality. The benefits of exercise in controlling blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol are known to everyone," says Dr. Rakesh Rai Sapra, Director and Senior Consultant-Cardiology, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Faridabad.
Benefits of running for heart
There are multiple benefits of exercise in prevention of heart disease which are lesser known. These include:
1. Increase in good variety of blood cholesterol which is known as high density lipoprotein or HDL. This cholesterol helps in preventing deposition of cholesterol in blood vessels.
2. Lowering of blood clotting tendency: Running can lower blood clotting tendency. This helps in reducing the chances of triggering of heart attack.
3. Augmentation of coronary collaterals. Exercises including running helps in augmenting coronary collaterals. Collaterals are fine connections between various coronary or heart arteries. Growth of these collaterals helps in preventing damage to heart if any one artery gets diseased and occluded as they form an alternative way of providing blood supply to the diseased area.
4. Reduction of mental stress and improvement of psychological profile. Regular exercise including running not only boosts physical capacity but also boosts mental strength. During exercise mind gets diverted from the daily worries and so it helps in mental calming thereby reducing the ill effects of mental stress on heart.
Is running for everyone?
People who are not runners or not used to strenuous exercises should explore running with care and on advise of their doctors and fitness trainers. Brisk walking, jogging, swimming and other such aerobic exercises can also help prevent heart diseases.
"Exercise which is recommended for prevention of heart disease is moderate intensity aerobic exercise. This means brisk walking or gentle jogging or swimming or playing outdoor games. This should be done for 30-40 minutes daily and 4-5 times a week. Doing more strenuous exercise like marathon running is generally not required for maintaining a healthy heart. But if someone is already doing more strenuous exercise on a daily basis then it can be continued. What one should remember is that they should not do strenuous physical activity if they are not used to that level of exercise on a regular basis. It is important to gradually increase the level of exercise as the body stamina improves," says Dr Sapra.