3a/352 South Street O’Connor WA 6163 | (08) 93376460

Heart Health Is Everyone’s Business


Heart health is everyone’s business

Cardiovascular (heart) disease rated within the top two leading causes of burden of disease in Australia (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2015).

While there is no single cause for any one heart condition, there are certainly identifiable (and modifiable) risk factors that increase your likelihood of developing one. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to develop heart disease.

Some modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease are:

  • Smoking

  • Physical inactivity

  • Diet

  • Weight management

  • Stress

  • Depression

  • Cholesterol

  • Alcohol

The effect of physical inactivity, or more specifically low cardiovascular fitness, has been identified to cause just as much harm to our health as smoking, obesity and type 2 diabetes. In fact, nearly 10% of all deaths worldwide could be attributed to physical inactivity (Bouchard, Blair, & Katzmarzyk, 2015).

It is estimated in Australia that over 50% of adults and 70% of children are not meeting their physical activity recommendations (AIHW, 2019).

Exercise and Activity Levels : Physiotherapy

Emerging evidence is now suggesting that simply reaching exercise targets of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week may not be enough to protect against heart disease. The effects of prolonged sitting is having serious effects on our heart health, with some research suggesting that sitting for more than 6 hours is enough to negate the benefits of 60 minutes’ worth of exercise that a person may have achieved in their day. Thus sitting LESS and moving MORE is favorable towards our heart health (Bouchard, Blair, & Katzmarzyk, 2015).

Focus is now shifting towards the achievement of incidental exercise or physical activity that increases our MET-minutes. MET refers to a unit of energy expenditure at rest. A MET minute therefore is the amount of energy expended carrying out an activity (Bouchard, Blair, & Katzmarzyk, 2015).

There are lots of ways we can decrease our sitting and increase our physical activity.

Below are just a few examples of how to do this:

  • Park further away and walk to your destination

  • Use the stairs instead of the lift

  • Where possible, utilise a sit-to-stand desk during work hours

  • Stand on public transport rather than sit

  • Stand when talking on the phone

  • Set an alarm to remind you to get up and move after 60 minutes of sitting

  • Get outside and enjoy the great outdoors

  • Reduce your TV time – maybe dance to music instead!

If you are lacking motivation, why not invest in a fitness measuring device like a smart watch or activity diary to help keep you accountable. Alternatively, why not join one of our exercise rehabilitation classes and let us keep you accountable to help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

Diet, Cholesterol and Weight : Naturopathy

A healthy diet, managing cholesterol levels and achieving a healthy weight are all important for heart health. Next Wave Naturopaths can help you make changes in these areas.

There is some evidence to suggest that estrogen plays a protective role against heart disease due to its impact on arterial walls. This explains why women in particular are at a higher risk of developing heart disease after the onset of menopause? (American Heart Association, 2015).

Herbal medicine, nutraceuticals, lifestyle and diet changes are highly effective in helping women during perimenopause and menopausal years.

Stress, Depression: Occupational Therapy

High levels of stress and low mood contribute to cardiovascular health. Occupational therapy can help you to achieve better life balance, exercise and stress management.

What if you can’t exercise due to fatigue or pain?

There are many different ways of gaining the benefits of exercise and lifestyle changes. Our physiotherapists, naturopaths and occupational therapists can work with you to devise an individually targeted heart health plan.

Share this article

Related Posts