One of the risk factors for heart disease is inactivity, so it’s important to become or remain active to lower your chances of developing the disease or to keep it under control.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week. The AHA also recommends performing physical activity in episodes of at least 10 minutes. You can start small and work your way up as you start to feel more comfortable. Just be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
WalkingThese are some of the best exercises to keep your heart healthy:
Walking is the easiest aerobic exercise, and one that can be worked into even the most hectic schedule. You can walk indoors or outdoors, on a treadmill or track, or just up and down a flight of stairs. Experts recommend setting a goal of 10,000 steps a day or roughly five miles.
The easiest way to keep track of how many steps you’re taking is to use a pedometer, which should be clipped to your belt and positioned upright for the most accurate results. If you do minimal walking in a day, you can get in extra steps by:
taking the stairs instead of the elevator
parking further away from entrances
taking a walk during your lunch break instead of staying at your desk
When starting a walking—or any type of workout—routine, remember that the level of intensity makes a difference. The key is to get your heart beating faster and speed up your breathing. Instead of walking at a leisurely pace, walk briskly to get the most out of your workout. Studies show that life expectancy increases by two hours for every hour of walking.
For those who want a little more intensity than walking but aren’t ready for running, jogging is an excellent medium. (To mix it up, you can switch between walking and running or jogging.) Like walking, jogging can be done indoors or outdoors. If the weather is bad or you can’t make it to a gym, you can always jog in place in your living room.