Cardiovascular disease is a disease of the heart and blood vessels. Everyone is at risk of developing it in later life, but regular physical activity and good lifestyle choices greatly reduce your likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
Some of the factors which increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease include:
- High blood pressure (called hypertension)
- Family history of cardiovascular disease
- Being overweight or obese
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle, with little physical activity
Clearly it makes sense to reduce the risks of developing cardiovascular disease. Regular physical activity has been found to do just that!
As we get older our arteries lose some of their elasticity and become stiffer. This means that the heart has to work harder to pump blood. We also accumulate fatty deposits, called plaques, on the inner surface of the arteries. This formation of fatty plaques is termed 'atherosclerosis', causing the arteries to narrow. This often leads to cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks and strokes in later life.