After a heart attack in 1996, Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda retired from baseball. That was 20 years ago. Today, the Hall of Fame manager is almost 90! A cardiologist familiar with Lasorda has said that the keys to a long and productive life following a heart attack (Lasorda had another "minor" one in 2012) are medications to control blood cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes, as well as low-dose aspirin. And then, of course, there's adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Besides sticking with a diet low in saturated fat, there's evidence that if you have cardiovascular disease, appropriate exercise makes your heart and blood vessels much healthier. Researchers at Shanghai University of Sport in China reviewed 35 studies that included some 2,250 participants from 10 countries. They found that among those with heart disease, Chinese exercise, such as tai chi or qi gong, helped reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure and significantly helped reduce lousy LDL cholesterol levels too. The researchers also say that Chinese exercise improves quality of life and reduces depression for folks with CVD.
We've always promoted walking 10,000 steps a day, along with a nutritious diet, for a healthy cardiovascular system. And, as the Shanghai study has shown, aerobic exercise delivers additional benefits. Thirty minutes of light tai chi equals 2,000 steps, and it's a great place to start on your way to getting in 10,000 steps daily. You can do it! As coach Lasorda always said: "The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination."
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.