man stretching at home in living room

Keep your Heart Healthy with Exercise

Exercise isn’t just about losing weight and gaining muscle mass. Regular physical activity helps keep our hearts in great working condition. Here’s what you need to know about exercise and your heart health.

Is exercise really that good for your heart?

It really is! By working exercise into your routine, you can keep your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure at healthy levels. Combined with weight, those factors can all dramatically reduce your risk for long-term heart disease.

How much exercise should we be getting?

Ideally, adults should get around 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise every week. That’s a little over 20 minutes every day.

You can tell you’re getting moderate exercise if your heart rate is up. Jogging, biking and playing a sport will do the trick — but so will some hobbies like gardening or dancing. Try to find something you enjoy doing and get your heart pumping.

I’m too busy to exercise every day.

You’re not the only one! The American Heart Association estimates that only 20% of adults get the recommended amount of exercise every week. Between work, meals and family time it can be tough to find the time.

The key is to get moving in small doses. Go for a brisk walk around the block, or do some push-ups in the morning. If you have stairs in your house and it’s safe to do so, try running up and down a few times.

You might not have big blocks of time for exercise. But once you find small chunks of time throughout the week, you can start getting the exercise your heart needs.

Does standing help?

It’s easy to sit for long periods of time, whether you’re working or binging a show. While it’s not technically exercising, one of the easiest things you can do to get moving is to make sure you stand up every hour.

Making a point to stand up and move around for at least one minute out of every hour improves circulation and gets your metabolism working. Try standing up for the duration of your next virtual meeting, or propping your laptop on a tall shelf the next time you’re watching a YouTube video.

And here’s a step you can take even if you’re sitting: click here to learn what heart and vascular screenings are available.  By taking a proactive step in your heart health, you can reduce your risk for heart disease.