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Lower Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Lower Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Q: There’s a history of cardiovascular disease in my family. Apart from eating healthy and watching my cholesterol, what can I do to lower my risk?

A: When it comes to preventing heart disease and stroke, a little exercise can go a long way. Squeezing 30 minutes of physical activity into your day–whether all at once or broken into 10-minute bursts–can considerably reduce your risk. Working out regularly also helps guard against diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure, all known to damage heart health.

Two recent studies have shed new light on how exercise helps your heart. First, University of Iowa researchers showed in an animal study that endorphins and other feel-good chemicals released by the body during exercise can protect against heart attacks. Next, a group of scientists from the Netherlands discovered that getting active at least once a week the cut risk of blood clots.

Exercise appeared to give women an even greater defense against blood clots, a common cause of stroke.

Learn more:
Get Your Healthy Heart Action Plan
The Best Supplements for Heart Health

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


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1:16AM PDT on Oct 27, 2013

Absolutely, Do some exercise and you wont huff n puff trying to get your breath just walking along the street, but start slowly and build yourself up to doing a bit more and a bit more till you can do quite a lot, which is required. The YMCA has gym instructors at the gym who can help you. it doesnt cost usually and they are only too happy to help you and show you what to do. ASK.... thats the easiest way. I had a stop and go and go and stop start over a year ago and then restarted in May and now I can leg press 40kgs. Thats enormous. I can also ride a bike at around 80 rpms on and off as in dropping back and powering off again for 30 mins. I have done remarkably well...thanks to the YMCA here in Melb. Australia and my gym instructor. Yayyy to him!

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