Are You Getting The Exercise You Need?

Photo by Gabin Vallet on Unsplash

Photo by Gabin Vallet on Unsplash

Staying active is one of the best ways to keep our bodies healthy. Most Americans don’t get enough exercise and, therefore, don’t reap the health benefits. In addition to helping prevent heart disease, exercise is known to reduce stress and improve sleep, energy level, mood and even brain functioning. For people with heart disease, exercise can keep symptoms in check and prevent problems from getting worse.

Regular physical activity can relieve stress, anxiety, depression and anger. Most people notice they feel better over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of their lives.

Regular exercise also reduces the risk of many forms of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease and coronary heart disease.

Without regular activity, your body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function properly. It’s like the old saying: you don’t stop moving from growing old, you grow old from stopping moving. Exercise increases muscle strength, which in turn increases your ability to do other physical activities.

Below is a list of all of the benefits that accrue from exercise:

Optimally, you should aim for at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity activity plus two sessions of muscle strength training per week, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. For example, you could take a brisk 30-minute walk at least five times a week and do two sessions of weight lifting or Pilates.

What’s moderate intensity? Use the talking—or breath—test: If you can easily carry on a conversation with full sentences, you’re not exerting enough effort. Try increasing the intensity of your activity. If you’re walking, quicken your pace. If you’re doing a cardio workout, add some jumps. For strengthening, push yourself by adding more weight or more repetitions.

So, this is easy! Just move more, with more intensity, and sit less. You don’t have to make big life changes to see the benefits. Just start building more activity into your day, one step at a time.

(Reference citation: “Exercise and Heart Health,” CardioSmart.Org (blog) Last Reviewed: March 2019 | Medical Reviewer: Viet Le, PA, AACC

Originally Published: May 2017 | Medical Reviewers: Andrew M. Freeman, MD, FACC; Jordan M. Prutkin, MD, FACC - CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief: Martha Gulati, MD, FACC, https://www.cardiosmart.org/Healthy-Living/Move-More/Exercise-and-Heart-Health.)

Author
Dr. Mark L. Meyer Dr. Meyer graduated from Haverford College with a Bachelor of Science, High Honors, in cellular and molecular biology, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude. He attended the Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed a categorical residency in Internal Medicine, served for one year as an Emergency Department attending physician, and held the title of Clinical Instructor in the Department of Surgery. During this time, Dr. Meyer obtained a J.D. from the Yale Law School, concentrating on medical ethics, scientific research law, and FDA law. He then completed a fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained Level 3 Nuclear Cardiology training.

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