You may be aware that staying active is a key part of a heart healthy lifestyle. Exercise can strengthen your heart muscle, help you maintain a healthy weight, and improve energy levels. A study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has even found that a lack of exercise raises your risk of death more than obesity.
And the study says…
About 334,000 men and women were studied over 12 years for height, weight, waist measurement, and self-reported levels of physical activity. The study found that a brisk 20-minute walk every day, which burns between 90 and 110 calories, lowered their risk of death by nearly one-third. This type of exercise can also have a big impact on weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Although moderate exercise has been shown to have the most benefit for people at normal weights, it can also lower the risk of disease and death in those who are overweight and obese. Staying active on a regular basis can also increase energy, improve mental health, and strengthen your bones, muscles, and immune system. This makes it easier for your body to fight off illness and infection.
How can I move more each day?
If your work or family commitments keep you out of the gym, remember that even just a quick walk in the park can improve your quality and quantity of life. Here are some quick ways to move more each day and improve your heart health:
- Stand up and walk around for a few minutes every hour at work if are sitting most of the day. These minutes can add up to the American Heart Association’s recommended 30 minutes by the end of the workday, and you don’t even have to break a sweat.
- Stand up and walk around during commercial breaks, or do some mini workouts. Jumping jacks, sit ups, pushups, bicep curls, or jogging in place for 30 seconds at a time are just a few ways you can make TV time more active.
- Wear a pedometer (a small step-counting machine) so you can track your movement each day. Start off by trying to get 2,000 steps, or one mile, under your belt. Challenge yourself each day to move more and increase your steps towards better heart health.