Exercise and Heart Health – get out there and start moving! Now!

Dr. Seth J. BaumAn irreplaceable component in any healthful lifestyle regimen is exercise. The American Heart Association advocates at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or any combination of the two). An average of 30 minutes a day, five times a week is an easy target to remember. If you are unable to allocate a solid thirty minutes of your time to exercise you can divide your time into two or three shorter segments of 10 -15 minutes per day. I always tell my patients that every day they make time to eat and bathe. Exercise is no different; it is a must!

A few aerobic activities that will positively benefit your heart:

  • walking
  • playing sports
  • climbing stairs
  • jogging
  • swimming
  • rowing
  • using an elliptical machine
  • practicing yoga
  • biking
  • performing aerobics and calisthenics
  • performing “circuit” light weight training
  • gardening

Walking is the simplest, aerobic exercise you can undertake to effectively improve your heart health. It’s enjoyable, free, easy, social, relaxing (even meditative), and great exercise. A walking program allows scheduling flexibility and boasts high success rates because people can stick with it. It’s easy for walking to become a regular and rewarding part of your daily regimen.

If you’ve been sedentary for years, a full 30 minutes of exercise may be too challenging for you. Start with sessions of shorter duration – something is better than nothing – and gradually build up to a full 30 to 60 minutes of activity. Your heart… and your family will thank you.

Check out the American Heart Association’s Start Walking program to help you get started.

Note: Don’t forget; in addition to aerobic exercise, weight training and stretching have additive benefits.

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