Fitness Heart Disease

Many Adults Clueless About Exercise Guidelines

Forty percent of survey respondents less active than recommended

Only 20 percent of adults in this country know that guidelines recommend they exercise at least 150 minutes a week to prevent heart disease. And 40 percent respondents to a Cleveland Clinic telephone survey said they exercised less than the recommended 150 minutes per week.

“While heart patients should certainly consult with their doctor before beginning a new program, they should be more worried about the effects of  not exercising on their heart than exercising,” said Steve Nissen, M.D., chairman of cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic, in a news release earlier this month. “Nearly all people with heart disease, and without, should exercise. It improves blood flow, leads to lower blood pressure and will help you live longer.”

The survey, performed between October 22 and October 25, 2015, of 1,009 adults who were at least 18 years old, found lots of information about exercise habits, some of it troubling:

86 percent of respondents said they exercised on a weekly basis
Men were more likely than women to exercise. Thirty-eight percent of men and 27 percent of women said they worked out at least five hours per week.
41 percent said work obligations prevented them from exercising.
37 percent said they were too tired to exercise.
28 percent said family obligations stood in the way of being more active.
14 percent said they were too out of shape to exercise.
49 percent of respondents who exercised each week said they never monitored their heart rate while exercising, while 11 percent said they used a phone or tablet fitness application to track their daily exercise regimen.
34 percent of people who took the survey were aware people with heart disease have to exercise as much as those without heart disease.
15 percent knew someone with high cholesterol does not need an exercise stress test before beginning an exercise program.
There was some encouraging news. A majority of survey respondents, 82 percent, knew cardiac rehabilitation can reduce death rates from heart disease by nearly 50 percent.

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“Heart disease kills about 1 in 4 Americans, but many of these deaths could be prevented by simple lifestyle changes like exercising and improving diet,” Dr. Nissen said. “Americans know exercise is important, but most don’t realize just how far a little exercise can go—potentially reducing the risk of dying from heart disease by as much as 40 to 50 percent. It’s worth making time for it.”

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