Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Low back pain keeps me from exercising. What else can I do to protect my heart?

Ask the doctor

Low back pain keeps me from exercising. What else can I do to protect my heart?

Q. Articles about preventing heart disease or stroke always mention the importance of exercise. But I can't exercise due to severe lower back problems. I religiously take medications for my high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low thyroid. There must be other people like me who can't exercise but really want to prevent heart trouble. Can you give us any suggestions?

A. We are very persistent about pushing exercise. If there were a pill that could do for heart disease what exercise does, I would promote it for people who couldn't exercise. But there isn't an exercise pill, nor is there one on the horizon.

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