There are primarily seven positive risk factor for coronary heart disease:
- Age (i.e., males > 45 yrs; females > 55 yrs)
- Family history
- Hypertension (i.e., blood pressure > 140/90 mm Hg)
- High cholesterol (i.e., > 200 mg/dl)
- Sedentary lifestyle
Looking at the above list, the modifiable risk factors are smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes (type-2), and sedentary lifestyle. The most important factor that should be addressed is smoking. It is the one factor that has the most significance in terms of reducing heart disease risk. Eating a healthier diet (e.g., less trans and saturated fat, less sodium, more potassium, less alcohol) and exercising regularly (esp. aerobic exercise) are the other factors that would significantly reduce heart disease risk. Increasing folate, vit B-6, vit B-12, and niacin in your diet can be beneficial. The reality is that if you exercise regularly, you'll less likely to be smoking and have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Exercise will lessen your body weight which will decrease your blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as moderate your insulin levels (reducing diabetic symptoms).
Here are the recommended exercise guidelines for those having heart disease:
- F: resistance training: 2 to 3 days/wk; cardio training: 3 to 7 days/wk
- I: resistance training: less than 75% 1-RM; cardio training: 40 to 80% HRR
- T: resistance training: 15 to 20 mins (16 to 20 reps/set); cardio training: 15 to 60 mins (intermittent or continuous)
- T: resistance training: 8 to 10 exercises of circuit training; cardio training: walking, swimming, cycling
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."