February is American Heart Month and an excellent time to take stock of your heart health. To help make the necessary adjustments to get you on the right track to better health, the American Heart Association (AHA) has set up recommendations for physical activity and has laid it all out clearly in the following infographic.
As shown above, the AHA recommends at least 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise five days a week or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days per week. If 25 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity seems too difficult or time consuming to do at first, breaking down your workouts into 10 to 15-minute segments is acceptable.
Cardiovascular (also known as aerobic) activities increase your heart rate and consist of walking, running, biking, swimming, rowing, and similar activities. These activities challenge and have a positive affect on your heart.
Additionally, the AHA recommends at least two days of moderate to high intensity strength training workouts per week. Strength training rebuilds muscle mass lost through the natural aging process and consists of weight lifting, pilates, and some forms of yoga. Strength training exercises can be performed using body weight, machines, dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, bands, medicine balls, etc.
To help make it a little more enticing to fit in the recommended exercises, focus on the many benefits you could reap…
- Lowered cholesterol
- Reduced body weight
- Lowered blood pressure
- Increased energy
- Lowered resting heart rate
- Increased bone strength
- Improved sleep
- Regulated blood sugar
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved self confidence
- Reduced chance of coronary heart disease
- Improved balance
- Reduced chance of developing certain cancers
- Reduced incidence of depression
If that’s not enough, think about how much better you’ll feel!
- How is your heart health?
- Do you know your family’s heart history?
- What is your favorite cardiovascular exercise? ~ Running for me!