This April, we commemorate Move More Month(opens in a new tab), a campaign organized by the American Heart Association(opens in a new tab) to raise awareness about heart disease. The goal is straightforward: get up and move! Getting regular exercise is integral to your cardiovascular health. It can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, improve your cholesterol levels, and even help you manage your weight. In the spirit of Move More Month, we’ve shed some light on how exercise impacts your heart health, and even included some tips to get you moving.
How Does Exercise Impact Heart Health?
Staying physically active works wonders for your cardiovascular health. Along with keeping a heart-healthy diet, exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your heart health. There are many benefits to living an active lifestyle, including:
- Reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Lowering your blood pressure.
- Reducing your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
- Raising your good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
- Helping you manage your weight.
- Improving your mood.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise as a safe minimum for most people. This could mean 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or 10 to 15 minutes of short bursts of activity to reach 150 minutes per week.
If you are not currently active, don’t try to do it all at once and get frustrated when you can’t reach the recommended amount of exercise quickly. Instead, make slow, steady changes to gradually reach the goal of making exercise a lifelong habit. Be sure to ask your doctor before you begin any exercise program.
How Can I Move More?
We know that it can be hard to get moving sometimes, but there are plenty of ways to make it a little easier. Here are some tips to get you started:
- 1. Find a physical activity you enjoy - Whether it's swimming, running, biking, or playing sports, find an activity that you enjoy and can stick with. When it is something that you genuinely enjoy doing, it will be much easier to get up and do it. It is much harder to get yourself to go work out if you feel like you have to force yourself. Instead, find something that you are excited to do, so it rarely feels like work. You could try joining a fitness class to help motivate you. Not only is it more fun to work out with others, but it also helps keep you accountable.
- 2. Switch up your exercises - In addition to heart-pumping aerobic exercise, guidelines also recommend muscle strengthening activities like lifting weights and resistance training. While aerobic exercise like jogging and cycling improve the heart and circulation, resistance training improves muscle strength, maintains higher levels of muscle tissue, and helps to strengthen the bones. Both forms of exercise help the body to better process blood sugar and improve cholesterol levels. Incorporating both types of exercise into your regimen will be sure to keep you in good shape.
- 3. Make movement a part of your daily routine - Try to get moving every day. Even if you can't fit in a full workout, try to squeeze in some movement throughout the day. Take a brisk walk during your lunch break, do some jumping jacks when you're watching TV, or go for a light jog before bed.When it comes to physical activity, something is always better than nothing. Finding a way to fit movement into your daily life will certainly help to improve your heart health.
Staying active is essential to your overall physical and mental health. You don’t have to be an exceptional athlete or have hours to spare in the gym in order to stay active. Finding ways to incorporate movement into your daily routine is more than enough to keep your heart health in good condition. In addition to physical activity, you may find yourself needing cardiac testing as a part of your heart health regimen. If you are in need of cardiac care, Genesis Medical Associates is proud to offer cardiology services to address your specific treatment needs.
Genesis Medical Associates is dedicated to providing families with access to primary care and improving the overall health and wellness of our patients. We offer a variety of services including primary care, women’s health, cardiology, telemedicine, and more. Visit one of our many Pittsburgh, PA locations or schedule an appointment online today.