How much should I weigh?
If you're overweight, the extra pounds put extra stress on your heart. Losing weight will help your heart stay healthy. If you need to lose weight, remember that losing just 10% of your body weight will reduce your risks for diabetes and heart disease.
Why is exercise good for my heart?
Exercise makes your heart stronger, helping it pump more blood with each heartbeat. The blood then delivers more oxygen to your body, which helps it function more efficiently. Exercise can also lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease and reduce levels of LDL ("bad" cholesterol), which clogs the arteries and can cause a heart attack. At the same time, exercise can raise levels of HDL ("good" cholesterol), which helps protect against heart disease.
Combined with a healthy diet, exercise can speed up weight loss. Exercise is also the best way to maintain weight loss. Regular exercise also helps you burn calories faster, even when you're sitting still.
What's the best type of exercise for my heart?
Aerobic exercise causes you to breathe more deeply and makes your heart work harder to pump blood. Aerobic exercise also raises your heart rate (which also burns calories). Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, running, swimming and bicycling.
How much exercise do I need?
In general, if you haven't been exercising, try to work up to 30 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week. Your doctor may make a different recommendation based on your health. If you can't carry on a conversation while you exercise, you may be overdoing it. It is best to alternate exercise days with rest days to prevent injuries.
How will I fit exercise into my busy schedule?
There are lots of ways to raise your heart rate during your regular day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk during a coffee break or lunch. Walk to work, or park at the end of the parking lot so you have to walk farther. Walk more briskly. Do housework at a quicker pace and more often (for example, vacuuming every day.) Instead of hiring a gardener to do your garden, take up the chores of weeding, planting and mowing to be your daily exercise. It gives pleasure as well as a good sweat out!
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