Exercise essential for healthy arteries
BOSTON (UPI) -- Regular exercise helps arteries by boosting the production of nitric oxide by the cells lining the arteries, which helps circulation, say U.S. researchers.
Research in mice suggests that exercise stimulates the bone marrow to produce new cells for the arterial lining, which replace aging cells and repair damaged arteries, according to the Harvard Men's Health Watch.
Exercise helps prevent atherosclerosis in a number of ways -- it keeps arteries healthy by lowering bad cholesterol and boosting good cholesterol and it reduces other risk factors for atherosclerosis and blood clots, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and stress.
Even in healthy people who are free of atherosclerosis, age takes its toll on arteries. As people age, arteries become stiffer, stickier and narrower, but studies show that for people who exercised regularly, age had a much smaller effect on arteries.
"You don't have to be a triathlete to help your arteries stay young," said Dr. Harvey Simon, editor in chief of the Harvard Men's Health Watch. "Just two to three miles of brisk walking nearly every day will help."
Copyright 2006 by United Press International