As you age, heart disease becomes one of the chief threats to your life. But you can readily shrink your chances of dying from cardiovascular problems according to researchers at the University of Denmark.
In a five-year study, the Danish researchers examined 600 people with coronary artery disease. That’s the condition that ensues when the arteries that supply the heart muscle with nutrients and oxygen develop blockages. It can lead to chest pains (angina) when you exert yourself, heart attacks and death.
Their study examined two important tools that can save your life: a positive attitude and exercise. They found that people with a positive attitude are more likely to exercise and live longer. But they also found that exercising improves your attitude and can lead to a longer life.
Their research demonstrated:
- The people with the most upbeat attitudes performed more exercise and had a 42 percent less chance of dying during the study.
- Having a positive attitude and working out also reduced the risk of hospitalizations to treat heart-related problems.
“We should focus not only on increasing positive attitude in cardiac rehabilitation, but also make sure that patients perform exercise on a regular basis, as exercise is associated with both increased levels of optimism and better health,” says researcher Susanne S. Pedersen who teaches cardiac psychology.
It makes sense that exercise and attitude go together. We know that when you feel good you want to exercise more, even if you’re older. And studies show that exercise “reorganizes” you brain to be resistant to stress and feel good.
Yet a visit to your cardiologist may result in a prescription to deal with your cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. But when it comes to a miracle medicine that helps the heart, none of those compare to daily exercise and a brighter mood.
Maybe the easiest and most beneficial exercise you can get is walking. The New England Journal of Medicine found that walking is every bit as good for your arteries as more strenuous exercise. They both reduce your risk of heart trouble by 30 to 40%.
In the study, walking included walking outside, hiking or even walking a golf course. So you don’t need to run for miles or do extreme workouts to heal your arteries and feel good. Just take a brisk walk every day.