Heart disease is the No. 1 worldwide killer of men and women. Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices, diet and exercise. Physical activity is especially important because one very important part of the body that is strengthened when you are physically active is the heart. Participating in moderate to vigorous activities that make the heart beat faster and harder makes the heart muscle stronger.

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease includes a number of problems affecting the heart and the blood vessels that supply oxygen rich blood to the heart. Some of the various diseases of the heart include heart rhythm problems and congenital heart defects, but the most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease. This condition, also referred to as cardiovascular disease develops when cholesterol and fatty deposits (called plaque) build up inside the coronary arteries making them narrow and hard. Coronary heart disease can lead to a heart attack, chest pain or stroke. Your body depends on your heart to live. Therefore, it is important to keep your heart healthy and free from disease. Getting your daily recommended amount of physical activity is a great way to do ths.

Heart Disease and Children

While many children don't usually develop coronary heart disease, many of the risk factors can begin to develop early in life. Risk factors like obesity and high blood pressure put children at a much greater risk of developing heart disease in adulthood.

How Physical Activity Can Help

As with adults, there are lifestyle changes that children can make to prevent and manage high blood pressure.

Physical activity helps to control weight gain and can reduce chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on the heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

United States Department of Health and Human Services
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans - 2018