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How Does Physical Activity Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease?

physical activity

It's common knowledge that engaging in physical activity is beneficial for heart health. But researchers are still looking closer to see the extent of the effect and why. In a new study by Massachusetts General Hospital, researchers found that physical activity reduces the risks of heart disease partly by lowering stress-related brain activity.

They scanned their brains and saw that individuals who have higher levels of physical activity tend to have lower stress-related brain activity.

In people with stress-related conditions such as depression and anxiety, stress-related brain signaling is high. This significantly increases their risk of cardiovascular diseases. Interestingly, the cardiovascular benefits of physical exercise are even greater for this kind of people with mental illness.

According to the lead author of the study, physical activity was about two times more effective in reducing heart disease risks among people with depression than those without.

In the study, participants who met the recommended level of physical activity had a 23% lower risk of heart disease than people who didn't have enough physical activity.

Although we can't prove causality between exercise and lower stress-related brain activity for now, we can be sure of the benefits. And that's the most important thing.

If you're battling depression, anxiety, or any other stress-related mental illness that makes your life difficult, getting more active can do you a world of good.

But besides the risk of heart disease, mental illness can impact your life in many ways, sapping you of your happiness and ability to enjoy life. We want to help you.

Reach out to us at Hope Mental Health today.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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