A Perfect Pair: Heart Health and Physical Activity

To reduce the risk for heart disease, adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days. This can be done in one 30-minute block of time, or you can split up the 30 minutes into three 10-minute sessions. Either way, you will receive the health benefits.

America is Inactive

In case you don’t know, physical activity is the act of moving the body. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that 60 percent of Americans are not meeting the recommended amount of physical activity on a daily basis. 16 percent of Americans do not participate in any physical activity.

Get Moving

30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily not only reduces your risk of heart disease, but also reduces the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, colon cancer and other medical problems. If you do not know what your numbers are and what they should be, check this out.

While engaging in the physical activity of your choice, you should be able to speak to someone and be just a bit out of breath — not totally panting, but not your normal breathing rate either. This is the minimum recommendation of intensity. You should notice a slight elevation of your heart rate as well.

Start a Walking Routine

While the winter months may make it harder to walk, here are some places you can contact for open walking hours:

  • Private athletic clubs
  • Public recreation facilities
  • School athletic facilities
  • Community recreation centers
  • Workplace recreation facilities
  • Dog parks

Since walking is a great way to incorporate physical activity, here are some walking-related suggestions:

  • Take a walk instead of watching TV
  • Walk during your lunch hour
  • Take a walk after dinner
  • Walk your kids to or from school (or both)
  • Walk the dog instead of letting them outside
  • Walk briskly at the mall
  • Walk the perimeter of the grocery store before shopping

Other ideas for physical activity:

  • Bike, walk or rollerblade to work
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park out further and walk the extra distance to your location
  • Join in your kids’ activity instead of relaxing
  • Carry a shopping basket instead of using a grocery cart
  • Dance
  • Have a walking meeting at work with co-workers instead of sitting in a room
  • Walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of calling or e-mailing them
  • Take the long way to the cafeteria or meeting

Other tips:

  • Have a pair of tennis shoes in your car so you are ready when the time comes
  • Choose a buddy to do these activities with
  • Do a variety of physical activities to prevent boredom
  • Sit ups and/or push ups during TV commercials
  • Schedule your physical activity

Let me know what you plan to do this week to increase your physical activity.

Photo Credit: Poorfish

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