Improve Vascular Health With Exercise

Exercise is incredibly important to your overall health, including your vascular health. According to Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, “Adults who are physically active are healthier, feel better, and are less likely to develop many chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and several types of cancer than are adults who are inactive.”

Keep reading to discover how to improve vascular health through exercise.

Importance of Vascular Age

“A man is as old as his arteries.” – Thomas Sydenham

The term vascular age provides you with an idea of your vascular health in comparison to the average vascular health at each age. To illustrate, if a 25-year-old person is told their vascular age is comparable to that of a 38-year-old person, it means their vascular health is poor compared to other people their age. In that instance, the 25-year-old person would be urged to work on improving their vascular health.

The diagnosis of a patient’s vascular age primarily relies on measuring their arterial stiffness. Some degree of arterial stiffness is natural and expected with age, but accelerated stiffness can lead to a higher risk of conditions like cardiovascular disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.

Several causes of accelerated vascular aging include the following:

  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Effects of Exercise on Vascular Health

One of the most effective ways to improve vascular health is through exercise. According to the Society for Vascular Surgery, “A new study from researchers in the United Kingdom showed that first-time marathon runners reduced their ‘vascular age’ by almost four years, reducing blood pressure and aortic stiffness and also resulting in a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.”

A regular exercise routine also has the ability to lower your risk for stroke, slow the progression of peripheral artery disease, and decrease the growth rate of abdominal aortic aneurysms. 

Implementing an Exercise Program

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans urges adults to engage in 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week to reap the most health benefits. While that may seem like a large amount of time, it breaks down to approximately 25-45 minutes each day. And don’t forget that activities like a brisk walk around the neighborhood count towards that time.

Adults are also encouraged to complete at least two muscle-strengthening activities per week. An exercise program that combines cardiovascular exercise, muscle-strengthening activities, and flexibility have the greatest impact on your overall health.

If 150-300 minutes of exercise per week seems like more than you can complete, just remember that every bit of activity positively affects your health. For more information on exercise, read the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

The physicians at Vascular & Vein Institute encourage everyone to consult their physician before beginning a new exercise program, especially those with existing conditions.