Did you know that regular exercise helps prevent stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease and more? Regular exercise also boosts your mental health, improves your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls - something important as you get older. Exercise increases your chance of living a longer, healthier life and it's never too late to start.
Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. Even so, it's important to exercise smart so you don't hurt yourself. If you're not currently active or are considering increasing your physical activity talk to your doctor be fore starting any exercise program and start slowly. A sudden increase in physical activity can do more harm than good. Gradual increases and consistent exercise are the way to go.
Exercise and your heart
According to the CDC, heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. However, getting at least 150 minutes a week - just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week - of moderate intensity aerobic activity can reduce your risk. More physical activity has been shown to further reduce risk and can also lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol health - two key factors in keeping your heart healthy and strong.
American Heart Association guidelines for physical activity
For Overall Cardiovascular Health
At least 30 minuets of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes
At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.
For Lowering Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
An average 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 or 4 times per week
What counts as moderate physical activity?
Anything that makes you move your body! The simplest way to get active and improve your heart health is to start walking. It's uncomplicated, free, social and great exercise. A walking program is also flexible and easy to work into your daily life. Looking for other activities? Consider jogging, swimming or biking. Dancing or playing sports. Hiking or water aerobics. If the activity causes you to breathe more deeply and makes your heart pump harder - you're strengthening your heart and lungs!
Be realistic with your goals
It's never too late to benefit from regular exercise. Even if you've been sedentary for years, you can start slowly and build up to the recommended exercise goals. Ten minutes of walking today can add up to 30 minutes of walking within a month! You don't have to be all in from the very beginning - do what you can, when you can and stick with it! You'll see the benefits in no time.
Bottom line: Exercise increases your chances of living longer
There aren't a lot of choices we can make that have as big an impact as increasing physical activity. According to the CDC, people who are physically active for about 7 hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week. Remember, just 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week can make a big difference in your overall health no matter your age, shape or size.