In adding on to reducing your risk for heart disease and stroke, physical activity can prevent other chronic diseases and premature death. It can also increase your fitness and energy levels, improve mental health, reduce stress and enable you to carry out your daily activities with greater ease and enjoyment. Just choose the benefits that are important to you and use them as motivation to get moving!
Choosing an activity
- Know the guidelines: Experts recommend that all adults do 150 minutes, or 30 minutes for 5 days, of moderately intense aerobic (endurance) activity each week. If you prefer, you can opt for 75 minutes of vigorous activity.
- Set a goal: Think about your current ﬁtness level, your interests and your lifestyle, and make sure your physical activity goals are reasonable.
- Break it up: Physical activity does not have to be done all at once! You can break up your activity into bouts of at least 10 minutes in duration. Try taking three 10-minute brisk walks throughout the day.
LESS VIGOROUS, MORE TIME… MORE VIGOROUS, LESS TIME
Intensity matters for heart health. You can burn the same calories by doing moderate intensity activities for more time or more vigorous activities for less time. Remember: All movement counts and makes a difference to your health.
How can you judge the intensity of an activity? Try to talk and sing during the activity.
- You're winded or can't talk = vigorous intensity
- You can have a conversation comfortably = moderate intensity
- You can sing = light intensity
Get the American Heart Association fitness basics!
Eating healthy and staying active are some of the most important things you can do to prevent stroke, heart disease and improve your personal well-being. The American Heart Association is here to help you understand fitness basics and the impact physical activity - or lack thereof - can have on your health. Visit heart.org to get more information.
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