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September 10, 2021

How Much Activity Do You Need Each Day to Keep Your Heart Healthy?

How Much Activity Do You Need Each Day to Keep Your Heart Healthy?

When you hear health professionals talk about keeping your heart healthy, they tend give two general pieces of advice over and over again: eat right and exercise.

There are a lot of great guides out there on what to eat for a healthy heart. What they often exclude is just how much exercise you actually need to keep your heart as healthy as possible.

How Much Exercise Do You Really Need?

If you do not already maintain a regular exercise schedule, making time for exercise can seem daunting. Fortunately, to maintain a healthy heart, you really only need about two hours and thirty minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise a week.

Over the course of a seven-day week, this means you only need about twenty-one minutes of exercise a day. If you are having trouble finding twenty-one minutes in your day, you can break up your exercise into smaller increments- two sessions of ten minutes are just as effective as one session of twenty minutes.

What Are the Best Exercises For Your Heart?

Ideally, your exercise program should be a combination of moderate cardiovascular exercise and weight training.

Weight training

Doing weight training strengthens the whole body, making you more effective at other exercise and day-to-day activities.

Many people are intimidated by weight training. Remember that you can and should start small. You can even start with your own bodyweight. When your body has more muscle mass, you will burn fat more efficiently, and strengthen your heart as well. A good weight-training program should hit all major muscle groups including your legs, back, and upper body.

Swimming

This is one of the most effective cardiovascular exercises as it uses your whole body. If you have regular access to a pool, try incorporating swimming into your workouts. In addition, swimming is a great, low impact exercise for your joints.

Running or walking

These are both excellent exercises as well. Running and walking are inexpensive, and can be done just about anywhere at any time. If you are new to exercise, and don’t feel up to going for a two or three mile run, start out by walking. Walking is a good way to segue into more intense exercises as you build strength, endurance, and your cardiovascular health.

Try walking with your children or spouse after dinner to get your whole family involved. Eventually, you may want to try running a 5K.

Rigorous daily activity

Don't discount this very underrated form of exercise. Try taking up a very physical hobby like gardening. Even doing a deep clean of your house, or mowing the lawn can be great ways to burn calories, and strengthen your heart. Something you do every week like mopping the floor can burn up to 300 calories per hour.

No matter what exercise you choose, remember that you only need about twenty minutes a day to start getting heart healthy.

Sources: CDC Physical Activity - Basics

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