Experts agree that regular physical activity is a great way to improve and maintain a healthy heart. But, it's not always easy to fit exercise into the day. If you're trying to find ways to move more, know that you're not alone.
Only about one in five adults is meeting the recommended guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise each week, along with at least two days of weight training. Many of us can do better, and you might be empowered to try when you feel the impact of regular exercise on your whole health.
Regular physical activity has been proven to help:
- Boost energy
- Improve cognition, including focus, concentration and memory
- Improve mood and reduce stress
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
Ideas for Getting Active
Moderate physical activity can be anything that gets your heart working harder than when it’s at rest. That includes brisk walking, swimming, jumping rope, and many other activities that are easy, accessible and that you enjoy.
Even better, it doesn’t require a big commitment to get all the health benefits of exercise. Break up your 150 minutes of weekly physical activity into 10-minute sessions throughout your week to improve your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Still not convinced you have the time? Here are some simple ideas to get moving:
- Make a weekly plan. Determine what activities you’ll do each day to help you reach your fitness goal.
- Try a HIIT workout. HIIT stands for high-intensity interval workout. It's a great way to burn calories and get active. HIIT workouts can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes, and there's a wide range of options for beginners and for those who work out regularly.
- Wake up 15 minutes early to get in a little extra aerobic activity, such as jumping jacks, pushups or crunches.
- Take a 10-minute walk break during your workday.
- Start a walking group that meets before or after work.
- Join a gym. The investment can be motivating to remind you to get your money’s worth out of your membership.
- Squeeze in simple stretches, like calf raises, lunges or wall sits while you’re cooking dinner.
- Buy a fitness tracker to help you monitor how much, or how little, you are active. Aim for at least 10,000 steps a day. There’s no need to break the bank; there are many models at different price points.
- Go ride a bike. Feel like a kid again by jumping on a bike. Gather your family for weekly rides around the neighborhood; explore new parks together or sign up for a cycling class.
- Have a dance party. Let loose at the end of a workday. Turn on your favorite three to four songs and burn some energy while relieving some stress.
- Walk the stairs for 10 minutes.
- Do bicep curls and pushups in the morning.
- Try squats or lunges when you’re on the phone.
- Lift weights when you’re watching TV.
- Add 10 minutes of stretching after your daily or weekly walk.
- Put things away. Spend time walking around the house putting things away. And instead of being efficient and getting things done in one trip, try just focusing on one thing at a time. You’ll be able to tidy up and get steps in all at once.
- Work out while you wait. Go for a walk during your child’s practice or while waiting for an appointment.
- Play with your kids. Nothing gets the heart going faster than a game of tag or throwing a ball outside.
- Sign up for fitness classes. Encourage a friend to join you and make working out fun.
- Rehab smart. If you’re an active athlete healing from an injury, work with a physical therapist or rehabilitation specialist to help you develop a plan to stay active without re-injuring yourself.
Strengthen Your Heart and Lift Your Spirit
Set your alarm a little earlier, block time off your calendar, and grab a friend to make exercise a priority. If you have any questions about how you can start a safe and effective exercise plan that promotes your whole health, connect with one of our heart experts near you today.
This material is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment and/or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.