Your heart is a muscle that requires physical activity to remain strong and healthy, just like the other muscles in your body.
It's never too late to start exercising, and you don't have to run a marathon or even a 5K. Taking a walk for 30 minutes a day can make a big difference. Join an exercise class at your community fitness center or go for a daily bike ride to get your heart pumping.
Once you get going with a physical activity, you'll find it pays off. Cardio activity helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and people who are active are less likely to have heart disease than those who are inactive.
Start your program in February, during heart health month. Here are 4 heart-healthy exercise tips to help you get started.
Heart-Healthy Exercise Tips
- Focus on regular, moderate activity. Give less emphasis to attaining high levels of activity, which can increase risk of injury. Pick activities you enjoy and exercise at an intensity appropriate for you.
- Pick an exercise or physical activity you can do year-round and that is fun. If you enjoy the activity and can continue throughout all seasons, you are more likely to make it part of your daily routine.
- Find a companion to exercise with you. Many people enjoy the socialization and motivation that comes with an exercise partner. This also helps you stay on a regular schedule, especially when you are first starting a new program.
- Don’t forget to stretch. As we age, it very important to incorporate stretching to maintain flexibility and muscle elasticity. This helps reduce risk of injury. Add stretching to your warm up and cool down.