February Blog: Prescription "Get Active for Your Heart Health"


Your physician may not prescribe hours on the track or treadmill for your cardiovascular condition. But did you know that a comparison of numerous exercise and medication studies finds that exercise may be just as effective as drug therapy for cardiovascular disease (CVD)?​ For many heart-related conditions, exercise actually performed better than standard medical management in promoting survival. 

In specific:

For people with coronary heart disease, medication—including beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, statins and antiplatelet drugs—and exercise worked equally well at lowering mortality.

For people with stroke, exercise performed better than medications at lowering mortality.

For people with heart failure, exercise was less effective than medications—in specific, diuretics—at lowering mortality.

For people with CVD and related conditions, taken as a group, exercise and medicine worked about equally well to increase survival.

A sedentary person has 50 times greater risk of having a heart attack than a person who exercises regularly, according to the journal Circulation. A study of veterans found that the greatest gains occur when people stop being sedentary and become moderate exercisers. For heart disease patients, heart rate after exercise should be no more than 120 beats per minute, according to National Jewish Health.

The takeaway isn’t to throw out your pill bottle, but to take your physician’s orders for exercise just as seriously as you would any prescription you’d pick up at a pharmacy. Your heart will thank you.

Summit offers a series of free Health Education classes on heart disease, heart failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and diabetes. Ask your physician about these classes and if they may be of benefit to you. For available class times and locations, call 865-212-2281 or toll free 855-371-3314, Option #4. Class descriptions can be found at www.summitmedical.com/patients/education.