Why should I pay attention to physical activity?
Regular, moderate-intensity aerobic activity can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Physical activity lowers blood pressure and improves cholesterol levels. If you already have heart disease, physical activity may be an important part of your recovery and maintenance. Be sure to check with your health care team to find out what kind of and how much activity is safe and healthy for you.
How much physical activity should I do?
There are two types of physical activity: aerobic and muscle-strengthening. Aerobic activity, often referred to as cardio, is anything that gets your heart rate up and speeds your breathing. Walking, dancing, biking, even vacuuming and mowing the lawn count as aerobic activity. Muscle-strengthening activity should work all of the major muscle groups to the point where it’s hard to do another repetition without help. Weightlifting and exercise that uses your body weight for resistance count as muscle-strengthening activity, including yoga, heavy gardening and similar activities.
The amount of physical activity needed depends largely on your age, health, concerns and goals. But there are a few common guidelines that apply across the board. A good starting point is to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, and to do strength training at least two days per week. The more time you spend active, the greater the health benefits. You don’t have to do long sessions – in fact, it’s best to spread your activity out throughout the week. Break it up into small chunks – even 10-minute walks – if that’s what gets it done. When it comes to physical activity, some is better than none!