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Regular exercise has health benefits for everyone, but especially for people who are coping with health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and arthritis.
According to a recent study by the American Heart Association, patients who have suffered a heart attack and include exercise as part of their rehabilitation have a better chance of preventing recurrent heart problems than those who do not exercise. Exercise reduced the risk of death among heart attack patients by 26 percent, second heart attacks by 21 percent, bypass surgery by 13 percent and angioplasties by 19 percent, the group’s research showed. Among the benefits of exercise for cardiac patients are improved blood vessel function and blood flow, reduced risk of blood clots and lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
For people with diabetes, exercise has been shown to help control blood sugar and reduce body fat. Regular weight-bearing exercise can also have a positive impact on people who have osteoporosis or who have been identified as being at high-risk for the disease, helping to improve balance to prevent falls and bone fractures, slow bone loss and strengthen back muscles to maintain good posture. Arthritis sufferers report that exercise helps them reduce joint pain and stiffness, builds muscles around their joints and improves their flexibility and endurance.
Anyone with heart disease or other chronic health issues should consult with his or her physician before beginning any exercise program. Because of the special health needs of these individuals, medically supervised exercise may be recommended.
Somerset Medical Center’s Sports Performance and Rehabilitation Center offers specialized exercise programs specifically designed for individuals with heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and arthritis at its facility at TD Bank Park in Bridgewater. Classes are led by medically trained exercise physiologists and are offered mornings, afternoons and evenings, Monday through Friday. Small class sizes enable participants to receive the individualized attention they need to stay motivated and meet their unique fitness goals.
This article was written by Scott Johnson and Jennifer Weidemann. Johnson and Weidemann are exercise physiologists at Somerset Medical Center’s Sports Performance and Rehabilitation Center.