Community

Small changes equal big health improvements

Scientific research, conducted over past decades, has examined the relationships between physical activity, physical fitness and cardiovascular health. Based on the resulting evidence, the prevailing view of numerous health organizations and expert panels is that more active or fit individuals tend to develop less coronary heart disease than those who are not active. If coronary heart disease does develop in active or fit individuals, it occurs at a later age and tends to be less severe.

To support you in learning about exercise and the other factors that keep your heart healthy, Agassiz Community Health, together with the Fraser Valley Regional Library, will be hosting a public information day on Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Agassiz Public Library. You will be able to talk to a health professional and pick up reading material related to heart health and preventing cardiovascular disease.

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the five major risk factors (along with high blood pressure, abnormal values for blood lipids, smoking and obesity) for cardiovascular disease. Regular exercise has a favorable effect on many of the identified risk factors. For example, exercise promotes weight reduction and can help reduce blood pressure. Exercise can reduce “bad” cholesterol and raise “good” cholesterol. Over time, additional benefits accrue. Muscular function improves as does the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen, meaning that daily activities can be performed with less fatigue. This is particularly important for patients with cardiovascular disease. Patients with newly-diagnosed heart disease who participate in an exercise program report an earlier return to work and improvements in other measures of quality of life, such as more self-confidence, lower stress, and less anxiety.

For people who have cardiovascular disease or are at risk, a Heart Health program is offered at the District of Kent Fitness/Activity Centre. Its goal is to rehabilitate people with heart heath problems. An on-site medical supervisor will monitor heart rate, blood pressure and other health-related factors before, during, and after exercise. Graduation from the program is dependent on an assessment by the nurse practitioner. The program meets the B.C. Level 4 Cardiac Rehabilitation Program requirements. Candidates must be referred by their physician and complete an intake evaluation with the designated nurse practitioner. Application forms are available at the Fitness/Activity Centre or the Agassiz Community Health Centre.

The benefits of exercise are unquestionable. Thirty minutes of moderate activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, yard work can be the best life investment you make.

- This article was submitted by Agassiz Community Health.

 

 

 

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