Physical activity increases strength in muscles in your body, it helps your heart muscle become more efficient and better able to pump blood throughout your body. This means that your heart pushes out more blood with each beat, allowing it to beat slower and keep your blood pressure under control.
The American Accreditation HealthCare Commission states that with exercise on a regular basis, your body's tissue (including the heart) does a better job of gathering oxygen from your blood. This action allows your heart to work better under stress and keeps you from getting winded during high-intensity activities (that out of shape feeling).
Physical activity also allows improved blood flow in the small blood vessels around your heart. Clogs in these arteries can lead to heart attacks. There is also evidence that exercise helps your body make more branches and connections between these blood vessels, so there are other routes for your blood to travel if the usual path is blocked by narrow arteries or fatty deposits.
Exercise also increases your levels of HDL cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol that lowers heart disease risk by flushing the artery-clogging LDL or "bad" cholesterol out of your system.
Exercise does not have to have an all or none mentality, moderation is the key and you must exercise according to your fitness level and comfort. It has been discovered that high-intensity exercise may not lower blood pressure as effectively as moderate-intensity exercise. In one study, moderate exercise (jogging 2 miles a day) controlled high blood pressure so well that more than half the patients who had been taking drugs for the condition were able to discontinue their medication.
Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise on most -- if not all -- days. Studies show that yoga and tai chi, an ancient Chinese exercise involving slow, relaxing movements, may lower blood pressure almost as well as moderate-intensity aerobic exercises.
Your heart health improves with just 30 minutes of exercise on most days. Two 15-minute segments of exercise or three 10-minute segments still count as 30 minutes. Just make sure the activity is vigorous enough to raise your heart rate. Try the talk/sing test: If you can't talk while you exercise, you're working too hard. If you can sing, you need to work harder.
Small steps, Big results - take stock of what you are doing for your health and incorporate moderate exercise such as walking or jogging. If that is not for you, there are many free yoga and tai chi videos online that you can do at home anytime. If you have health issues, check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Your doctor would love to hear that you are getting serious about exercise and can find an activity that would be best for you.