Drink-up and lace-up for heart health

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: July 1st, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

You’ve already heard the latest buzz: Sipping some of your favorite wine at dinner can make the heart grow stronger. But now you might want to add a jog around the neighborhood to your list of evening rituals to help boost health benefits.

The combination of weekly alcohol consumption and moderate physical activity might help you live longer and reduce the risk of heart disease than each factor alone, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal.

Danish researchers surveyed twelve-thousand people over a twenty-year period and found that both alcohol consumption and exercise influence the heart in similar ways by increasing good cholesterol in the body.

Researchers found that people who don’t drink but also don’t exercise had the highest risk of heart disease, while people who drink moderately and exercise had the lowest risk of heart attack.

But don’t lap up a gin and tonic after your jazzercise class just yet. According to researchers, there is no proof that drinking alcohol helps prevent heart problems before age fifty. Drinking seven martinis in one day will also hinder rather than help your health.

The best prescription for overall wellness is to do everything in moderation, meaning no more than one drink each day for women and up to two for men.

So strap on your i-Pod and lace-up your sneakers for a brisk walk or run. And if you’re old enough, cap off a day at the gym with a small glass of your favorite grape.