There are many different components of living a heart-healthy lifestyle, and one of the most important is exercising on a regular basis. The benefits of exercise include lowering your blood pressure, reducing bad cholesterol, and lowering your risks of heart attack and diabetes. If exercise isn’t already a part of your daily routine, it can seem overwhelming to get started, but don’t get discouraged! There are many types of physical activity that can improve your heart health – it’s all about finding what’s right for you.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, at least 5 days a week. You can start slow – one of the best exercises is simply taking a brisk walk. Walking is something that many people can do, and you can do it almost anywhere. If you enjoy the outdoors, check out your local parks, trails, and neighborhoods. Prefer to stay inside? Visit a nearby gym or shopping mall to get your steps in. Walking is a great way to explore your surroundings for free while simultaneously getting all the benefits of exercise.

Other types of physical activity that are good for improving your heart health include running, cycling, swimming, and playing sports. There are several activities that you probably do on a daily basis without even noticing you’re breaking a sweat, such as gardening, cleaning the house, and playing with your kids. As American Heart Month draws to a close, remember that any physical activity is better than none – check out the box below for some ideas of ways you can incorporate heart-healthy physical activity into your everyday routine!

Check out these additional ideas to incorporate physical activity:

Do you…

  • Have kids? Engage in fun physical activities with your children, like playing tag, catch, or capture the flag so the whole family gets some exercise!
  • Like to dance? Try joining an exercise class that incorporates dance into workouts, such as Zumba or Jazzercise.
  • Feel like you have no time? Try an exercise video that you can do at home – plenty of them offer short but intense workouts that you can finish in under 20 minutes.
  • Want something more calming? Try Yoga or Pilates to reduce stress and still get a great workout.

Sources: American Heart Association, CDC. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.

Take our FREE online Heart Risk Assessment