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Physical Activity is Good for Your Heart

Physical activity is an important way to prevent heart disease and stroke, the nation’s Number 1 and Number 5 killers. The American Heart Association, the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to fighting cardiovascular diseases, has recommendations for adults to improve their heart health.

Physical activity is anything that makes you move your body and burn calories. This includes climbing stairs or playing sports, as well as aerobic exercises like walking, swimming or biking. Strength and stretching exercises are also good at improving overall stamina and flexibility.

The simplest, positive change you can make to help improve your heart health is to start walking. Not only is it free, but it’s also enjoyable, social and great exercise. A walking program is an easy way to make it part of your regular routine.

Remember, something is always better than nothing. If you don’t think you can exercise for 30 or 40 minutes, set more reachable goals. Then you can work toward your goals and increase your time as you get stronger.

To improve your overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association recommends:

  • At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days a week for a total of 150 minutes


  • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days a week for a total of 75 minutes


  • Moderate-to high-intensity muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days per week

To help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends:

  • At least 40 minutes of moderate-to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 or 4 times per week