Cardiovascular disease is expected to cause 25 million deaths in the entire world in 2020. In India, cardiovascular disorders are the cause of 25 per cent deaths.
Heart disease is not just an ailment restricted to the urban and economically strong; it also affects the rural and underprivileged population. There are many risk factors that may lead to heart disease, such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and metabolic syndrome.
The developing societies like India have to face an unfavourable setting characterized by changes in lifestyle, an increase in the consumption of foods with a high caloric density, a reduction of physical activity, and an increase in tobacco use.
"Sedentary behaviours include sitting, reclining, or lying down while awake as well as reading, watching television or working on the computer for more than 10 hours. These "inactive activities" mean energy expenditure is less than or equal to 1.5 metabolic equivalents, or METs," says Dr Ram Anil Raj, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Bangalore.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase risk of dying from heart disease by 52 percent for men and 28 percent for women. In 2010 the World Health Organization estimated that 3.2 million people die each year due to the failure to engage in physical activity, which constitutes the fourth most important risk factor leading to death in the entire world.
Sedentary behaviour is associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, impaired insulin sensitivity (linked with diabetes) and an overall higher risk of death from any cause. Despite the health-promoting effects associated with regular physical exercise, physical inactivity not only continues to be a common problem, but also is becoming increasingly widespread.
Aerobic cardiovascular exercise is best in heart disease prevention. It trains the heart to become more efficient and trains the body to better utilize oxygen. Cardiovascular exercise lowers blood pressure and reduces total cholesterol, two problems associated with heart disease. It increases insulin sensitivity, helping to prevent diabetes and other metabolic conditions.
Obesity is often a precursor to heart disease, and cardiovascular exercise is the best method for weight loss. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends engaging in cardiovascular exercise on most days of the week for a minimum of 30 minutes. Methods of exercise include walking, jogging, cycling and swimming.
Exercise increases circulation, helps clear arteries, lubricates joints and promotes well-being. It is important to adopt an exercise regimen before signs of heart disease occur and make exercise a lifestyle habit.