Exercise Regularly to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Springtime in Florida means more sunshine, fresh air, and longer days – it’s the perfect time to kick-start your exercise routine after a long winter of staying indoors and indulging too much. Exercise is also good for your health; physical activity can improve your mood and lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. For adults, the American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, five times a week.

Regular aerobic exercise can have many benefits for your heart.

  • Lower risk of coronary artery disease. People who maintain an active lifestyle are 45% less likely to develop heart disease.
  • Lower blood pressure. The heart is a muscle, and when it works harder (like after a vigorous workout session), it gets stronger with repeated exertions. A stronger heart can pump more blood, which helps arteries expand and create more room for blood to flow, lowering blood pressure.
  • Lower cholesterol. Exercise lowers your levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and raises your levels of HDL (good cholesterol), which prevents fatty buildup on the walls of your arteries.

To get the most benefit from physical activity, your exercise program should include:

  • Cardio – Running, jogging, or biking. Move fast enough to increase your heart rate and breathing rate. If you have joint problems, choose low-impact activities such as swimming.
  • Stretching – Stretch after you’ve warmed up and after you’ve finished exercising, to prevent injuries.
  • Strength training – Using weights, resistance bands, or your own body weight (such as yoga). Train 2 – 3 times per week, and let your muscles recover in between.

When starting a new exercise program, start slowly and build up to more intense exercises. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program, and be sure to stay hydrated and stop immediately if you feel any pain.


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