Exercising for a healthy heart
Physical activity is important to building a healthy body supported by a strong heart. Your heart pumps approximately 115,000 times a day to circulate 2,000 gallons of blood; that’s a lot of work! Support your heart with exercise so your heart can continue to support you.
Exercising regularly has many health benefits, including preventing or controlling high blood pressure. If high blood pressure is not controlled, it can lead to complications such as a heart attack, aneurysm, metabolic syndrome, or dementia.
The general recommendation is to engage in moderate-level physical activity for at least 30 minutes each day. If you are sedentary and have not exercised in many years, you can start by dividing the 30 minutes into shorter periods of 10 minutes each to make it more manageable. If you are already a “jock”, try adding 1 more minute to your workout each day for an added benefit.
Common chores around the house can be counted as moderate-level activity, in addition to playing your favorite sports more. Here are some examples:
• Wash and wax a car for 45 to 60 minutes
• Wash windows or floors for 45 to 60 minutes
• Gardening for 30 to 45 minutes
• Pushing a stroller 1½ miles in 30 minutes
• Rake the leaves for 30 minutes
• Shovel snow for 15 minutes
• Walk up the ladder for 15 minutes
• Play volleyball for 45 to 60 minutes
• Play touch football for 45 minutes
• Walk 2 miles in 30 minutes (1 mile in 15 minutes)
• Shooting with sneakers (basketball) for 30 minutes
• Fast dancing (social) for 30 minutes
• Perform water aerobics for 30 minutes
• swimming laps for 20 minutes
• Play basketball for 15 to 20 minutes
• Jump rope for 15 minutes
• Run 1.5 miles in 15 minutes (1 mile in 10 minutes)
Creating an exercise routine can be fun and liberating! Choose activities that you enjoy while experimenting with new ones; feel free to mix it up. For example, you can go swimming on the weekends and go for a run for a few days during the week. Remember that the little things add up too! Participating in your usual daily activities, like walking to the grocery store or moving around the house while cleaning, is still a movement your body craves.
Always check with your doctor first before starting any exercise program. This is especially true if you have heart problems or have had a heart attack, if you are over the age of 50 and are not used to being physically active. If you have a family history of heart disease at a young age, or if you have other serious health problems, contact your doctor before starting any exercise program.