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Heart Disease and Exercise

Updated on June 25, 2013

The Importance of Exercise

I consider exercise to be the "equalizer" of the health world. Why would I equate exercise to a term that has become synonymous with the gun? Because exercise is such a powerful activity when it comes to determining the state of your health, that it should not be ignored when developing and following a health program. Does this mean that you cannot be healthy unless you engage in some form of higher level of activity? Absolutely not! However, due to the fact that exercise makes the body more forgiving, the lack of exercise makes it harder to maintain your health.


Your Heart Health

One of the more important benefits that exercise provides is improved heart health. There are several reasons why exercise is so important for the health of your heart::

1. Exercise along with adequate amounts of protein help to maintain a high HDL level. Typically, that would be around 50 and higher. A high HDL level moves fat out of the blood stream. A high HDL number has been accepted by the medical establishment as one of the indicators of good heart health.

2. Exercise "thins" the blood. When our diets change, or as we age, higher stress levels and chronic stress due to aging, causes our blood to "thicken" which increases the risk of heart disease.

3. Exercise reduces inflammation in the body. Inflammation can form lesions in the arterial walls which contribute to the onset of plaque build up.

Monitoring Your Level of Activity

On my Blog Site, "," there is a calculator which you can use to calculate your level of activity in average calories per pound per day. I refer to this calculation as "exercise by the number." It is a User friendly calculator that lists exercises in 16 different levels of activity (L1 thru L16). From low levels of activity like walking or washing the car, to higher levels of activity like martial arts, you can accurately determine your average level of activity in a day. In so doing, you can incorporate routine activities such as pushing a shopping cart or doing yard work to monitor your daily exercise program, and meet your exercise goals.

So what is a healthy level of activity on average in a day? The answer to that question depends on several factors. Age, diet, level of stress, and current physical fitness are important considerations when beginning an exercise program. Once you have assessed those variables, you will need to pick a starting point, or level of activity.

A level of activity of 12 calories/pound is the number of calories that the body uses on average during a day when you are sedentary all day long. If you walk, wash your car, or vacuum the house for a total of 1 hour, your caloric burn rate will be about 13 calories per pound. If you incorporate higher levels of activity into your routine such as running, playing racquetball, or martial arts, then your caloric burn rate will go up to 14 to 15 calories per pound. .

Getting Started

A good starting point for individuals who don't exercise, including walking, is 13 calories per pound. For those of you that walk a total of at least 1 hour per day, the target caloric burn rate should be 14 calories per pound. And for those of you who are not strangers to exercise, targeting a 15 calories per pound caloric burn rate would work well for you. To begin:

1. Go to and Click on "Metabolic Calculator." Choose activities that are to your liking and how many minutes you plan to spend on each in a day and Click on "Calculate."

2. Compare the caloric burn rate you have targeted to the calculated caloric burn rate.

3. If the calculated caloric burn rate is lower, then change your selection of activities by choosing an activity from a higher level of activity (from L4 to L5) and Click "Calculate."

4. If the calculated caloric burn rate is higher, then choose activities from a lower level of activity (from L5 to L4) and Click "Calculate."

5. When your targeted caloric burn rate matches (or comes close) your calculated caloric burn rate, you can begin by partaking in the activities selected for the amount of time chosen.

6. When you are ready, repeat Steps 1 thru 5 for a higher target caloric burn rate.

It is not recommended that you go higher than a caloric burn rate of 17. It is not possible to maintain a healthy exercise program at that high level of activity.


Before beginning any exercise program, it is recommended that you seek the advice of your physician and get his or her approval to proceed with the exercise program that you have developed for yourself.


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