Exercise is such a powerful weapon against many preventable, yet devestating diseases. The first disease that comes to mind would be cardiovascular disease. Which makes perfect sence in simple terms. Taking care of the muscle that is responsible for pumping blood through your body as well as the system that circulates that blood makes perfect sense. However cardiovascular disease typically inculed multiple conditions that lead to this disease but can be controlled, reduced, or avoided by regular exercise.
Blood pressure contributes to the effeciency of the cardiovascular system by controlling the pressue that is exerted when the heart pumps blood through the system as well as the relaxation period between beats. If the pressure is to high this can compromise the patency of the vessels and lead to a decline in cardiovascular health. According to the CDC 1 out of every 3 Americans have high blood pressure. “Physical activity not only helps control high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension), it also helps you manage your weight, strengthen your heart and lower your stress level.” (American Heart Assosication, 2016).
Cholesterol levels are also something that can contribute to cardiovascular disease if they are to high. According to the CDC 37.1 of Americans have high LDL levels which is classified as the harmful cholesterol. Too much bad cholesterol and to little good cholesterol can cause fatty depositis within the sytem which can potentially block blood flow. Exercise is something patients can do to improve the HDL while decreasing the triglycerides. “Exercise has the greatest effect on triglycerides (lowers them) and HDL, the good cholesterol (increases it).” (Cleveland Clinic, 2016).
Obesity is also another risk factor for cardiovascular disease. According to the CDC more than 1/3 of Americans are Obese. This condition can be cured by diet and exercise. This condition is caused by an excess in calories compared with the intake. When we exercise we burn calories. If we burn more than we consume by practicing regular exercise we will reduce our weight. “It’s a no-brainer. Exercise burns calories. The more you exercise, the easier it is to keep your weight under control.” (American College of Sports Medicine, 2016).
As a nurse it is our committment to our patients to educate them on what they can do to prevent or improve their condition. For a patient with any of the conditions listed above I would suggest they shoot for 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days a week. In order to get patients to even attempt a change like this you have to find out about their lifestyle and committments. For example you can expect a working single mom to be able to afford a gym membership and take time away from her children to exercise. I would suggest that she encorporated exercise into her daily routine and plan this out at the beginning of each week. If she usually drives two blocks for soccer practice she may be able to swap out walking instead. This also instills good habits for her children. Whatever plan of care you present to your patient, it must work for them or they simply will not be compliant and most importantly…..healthy.
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