Are You Getting The Exercise You Need?

It's harder to get enough exercise than one would think. How much do you get?

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.)

You Might Also Enjoy...

How to Stay Hydrated in a Heat Wave

Many countries across the globe are facing dangerously high temperatures. Here’s what to do to stay safe. Large swaths of the United States, and many parts of Europe, China, and other areas worldwide, are facing dangerous levels of heat.

Five Ways to Help Reduce Every Day Stress

Some stress is part of everyone’s life. But there are times when the daily demands of the job or school, the complications of home life, the pressure of living in the New York metropolitan area, and the state of the world.

Want to Reduce Stroke Risk? Sit Less. Move More. Do Chores.

A new study from San Diego State University, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA Network Open, found that doing lighter intensity daily activities such as household chores can significantly reduce the risk of stroke.