Brain Stress and the Heart

By Editorial Staff

We know exercise lowers heart disease risk – but how does it do it? We may have an answer, courtesy of new research findings. Interestingly, the brain appears to be involved.

Researchers have found that physical activity may affect areas of the brain related to stress. Among more than 50,000 adults who completed an exercise survey, some of whom also underwent brain imaging, participants who exercised more were not only less likely to suffer cardiovascular events; they also had lower activity in stress-related areas of the brain.

As a result, people with depression had larger heart disease risk reductions from physical activity than people without depression – particularly if they exercised for more than 150 weekly minutes, as recommended by experts to maximize overall health. Findings appear in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Can't seem to find time or motivation to exercise? Ask your doctor for help outlining a sensible plan that will help your heart, as this study suggests; your weight if you're struggling with weight issues; and your entire body on multiple levels in terms of reducing disease risk.

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