Atherosclerosis Chapter 14

Fitness Movement


Exercise and Your Arteries

Exercise is your best medicine for preventing and treating atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Exercise reduces inflammation, a major cause of arterial plaque, and keeps your arteries resilient and flexible. It also helps keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. This is important, because high blood pressure is a major factor in causing arteries to thicken and stiffen. Being physically active helps you to lose weight if you need to do so and improves your cholesterol and triglyceride profile. It helps to reduce stress, another known risk factor for atherosclerosis, and reduces your chances of developing heart disease. READ MORE

Any amount of exercise is beneficial for your cardiovascular system (your heart and blood vessels)—it doesn’t have to last a long time to produce benefits. Studies have shown that moderate exercise, like taking a brisk half-hour walk, 5 days a week, lowers levels of LDL-cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol. More intensive exercise, such as jogging 20 miles a week, can increase levels of HDL-cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. LESS


Aerobic vs Anerobic Exercise

You’ll feel best and get the most health benefits if you do both aerobic and anerobic exercise.

Aerobic exercise is lower-intensity, endurance-type activity, such as running, long-distance cycling, and swimming, that maintains an increased heart rate over an extended period of time. During aerobic activity, you repeatedly move large muscles in your arms, legs and hips. READ MORE

Anerobic exercise is brief (from a few seconds up to 2 minutes), strength-based activity. Examples are sprinting, jumping, and lifting weights. Any physical exercise or activity that lasts longer than 2 minutes develops a large aerobic component and is no longer strictly anerobic.

Which Is Better for You?

For the best results, you need to do both anerobic and aerobic exercise.

Aerobic exercise:

  • Helps you to lose weight by expending calories

  • Lowers blood pressure and improves your cholesterol and triglyceride levels

  • Improves your insulin sensitivity and reduces risk of diabetes and atherosclerosis

  • Strengthens your heart and reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke

  • Lowers your stress level and helps you to relax

Anerobic exercise:

  • Keeps your muscles strong and helps maintain muscle mass

  • Helps you to better perform both everyday activities and aerobic exercise

  • Lets you burn more calories when you are resting (about 75% of the calories you burn each day are used when you are rest, not when you are exercising)

  • Keeps your bones strong


The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.