KEEPING YOUR HEART HEALTHY – Staying Active.

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Doing just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, can help to reduce your risk of heart disease.

People running on a treadmill in health club.

Keeping Your Heart Healthy – Staying Active.

Being active and moving more are key to having a healthy heart. A great goal is aiming to be active in as many ways as possible throughout the day, and reduce the amount of time spent sitting for long periods.

Along with healthy eating, physical activity improves heart health by preventing heart disease.

Why should I be active?
Did you know that being physically inactive increases your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%?

Your heart is a muscle and needs exercise to help keep it fit so that it can pump blood efficiently around your body. Without regular physical activity, the body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function well.

Lifelong physical activity, such as a brisk walk for as little as 30 minutes a day, is important for:
· Preventing heart disease
· Lowering your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke
· Helping to fight the battle to quit smoking
· Aiding cardiac rehabilitation
· Establishing good heart healthy habits in children
· Building stronger immunity
· Reducing blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure
· Helping to reduce stress, tension, depression and anxiety
· Helping to control weight
· Improving overall health and wellbeing, prolonging your optimal health.
For each hour of regular exercise you get, you’ll gain about two hours of additional life expectancy.
Whatever type of activity you choose to do, the more you move the better.

What type of activity is good for my heart?
Walking is a great option. Nearly everyone can do it, and all you need is a pair of shoes. You could get a treadmill for home or office use, hit the gym and take exercise classes.

Remember, any increase in physical activity will be good for your health. You’ll get added benefits by including activities that help strengthen muscles twice a week, such as exercising with weights.

You should aim to build up to a total of 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity activity each week. Moderate intensity activity will make you feel warmer, breathe harder and make your heart beat faster than usual, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. The best way to tell if the exercise you are doing is working, is to take the talk test.

Many health problems can be helped by regular physical activity, but if you do have a health problem, or have a condition that you are taking prescribed medication for, you should check the amount and type of activity that is suitable for you with your doctor.

How do I get started?
It’s never too late to start. Everyone can benefit from moving more – whatever your age, size or physical condition. The good news is that inactive people that start to do moderate physical activity feel the biggest health benefits – your health risks will decrease as soon as you start to move!

Getting started is easier than you think. Changing a few daily habits can soon add up to a more active you. Be active in as many ways as possible every day. Every 10 minutes counts. And if you don’t think you can squeeze anything else into your day, see if you can reduce the time you spend sitting still and free up time to be active.
· Start in small amounts
· Find an activity that you enjoy doing
· Ask family or a friend to join you
· Set yourself a realistic target to do a little exercise each day
· Gradually increase the amount you are doing. Go for a little longer or a little further
· Build up to 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.

heartfoundation.org

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