You might be wondering what you can do to prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease. One of the easiest yet powerful tools to strengthen your heart muscle is remaining physically active. Getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight when you have heart disease is the best gift you can give to your heart.

This article is a brief overview of heart disease and exercise, the benefits of exercise on heart health, and the types of exercise you can do.

Is There A Link Between Heart Disease And Exercise?

Yes, heart disease and exercise are linked because exercise makes your heart muscle strong. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being physically inactive increases your likelihood of developing heart disease. Even if you have no risk factors for heart disease, you can develop heart disease if not engaged in physical activities.

Since heart disease and exercise are highly associated with each other, you can talk to your healthcare provider about which type of exercise is safe for you. Consulting your healthcare provider is critical if:

  • You have had heart surgery or heart procedure.
  • You’ve been experiencing shortness of breath along with chest pain/tightness.
  • You have type 2 diabetes.
  • You recently had a stroke or heart attack [1].

Benefits Of Regular Exercise On Heart Health:

Below mentioned are some incredible benefits of exercise to maintain optimal heart health:

1. Exercise Lowers Blood Pressure:

Hypertension is a major contributor to heart disease. Exercise is as powerful as medications to lower blood pressure. By working like a beta-blocker medication, regular exercise reduces stress on the heart and enables it to pump more blood, potentially lowering blood pressure.

2. Exercise Slows Down The Development Of Diabetes:

Aerobic exercise has been reported to reduce the risk of diabetes by 50%. Exercise helps the body improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels [2].

3. Exercise Is The Key To Weight Loss:

Regular exercise paired with a balanced diet helps you lose weight, which in turn promotes heart health. Obesity puts extra stress on your heart, which leads to heart disease.

4. Exercise Lowers Cholesterol:

Substantial evidence has shown a robust association between heart disease and exercise by making healthy improvements in cholesterol levels. Exercising regularly possibly lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases HDL (healthy) cholesterol levels by 10% [3].

5. Exercise Improves Blood Circulation:

Cardio improves blood flow in heart arteries, where plaque builds up with time. Improved blood circulation creates an adequate and efficient passage for the blood so that it can be transported to different organs.[4].


Different Exercises That Can Benefit Your Heart:

The following are various types of exercises that you can do to achieve optimal heart health:

1. Resistance Training:

Resistance training performed for two nonconsecutive days a week can help you achieve weight loss, lower LDL cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart attack [5].

2. Aerobic Exercise:

Aerobic exercise works by using your lungs and heart to improve blood circulation and blood pressure. If you have diabetes, aerobic exercise helps lower blood glucose levels. Aerobic exercise can be performed five days a week for 30 minutes.

The Takeaway Message from MyCardiologist:

Exercising regularly and engaging in physical activity is as important as taking medication for heart health. If you have heart disease and exercise daily, your chances of having further damage to your heart reduce significantly. Aerobic and resistance training exercises lower cholesterol and blood pressure and reduce the progression of diabetes.



  1. Myers J. Exercise and Cardiovascular Health. Circulation 2003;107:e2–5.
  2. Nystoriak MA, Bhatnagar A. Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise. Front Cardiovasc Med 2018;5:135.
  3. Varady KA, Jones PJH. Combination diet and exercise interventions for the treatment of dyslipidemia: An effective preliminary strategy to lower cholesterol levels? J Nutr 2005;135:1829–35.
  4. Shimizu R, Hotta K, Yamamoto S, Matsumoto T, Kamiya K, Kato M, et al. Low-intensity resistance training with blood flow restriction improves vascular endothelial function and peripheral blood circulation in healthy elderly people. Eur J Appl Physiol 2016;116:749–57.
  5. Fisher S, Smart NA, Pearson MJ. Resistance training in heart failure patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Heart Fail Rev 2021.