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Healthy Habits: Get physically active for a healthier heart

Mar. 05, 2013 @ 01:26 PM

The American Heart Association says being physically active for at least 30 minutes on five or more days each week can help you not only look and feel better, but it can also help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Living a physically active lifestyle has many benefits, and all of these benefits can begin with moderate activity. This includes things like walking, biking — even housework and gardening. And if you enjoy more vigorous activities, that’s great too. The more active you are the more benefits you gain. The most important thing is to get more active every day. And it’s never too late to start.

It may sound impossible to find another 30 minutes in your day for physical activity but you don’t have to do all 30 minutes continuously. Being active for 10 to 15 minutes at a time can help improve your health. Stretch for 10 minutes in the morning before everyone gets up, take a 10 minute walk during lunch, and go for a 10 minute walk after dinner, and you have managed to work in 30 minutes of activity.

Try these tips from the heart association to help you find more time and motivation for physical activity:

  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • If you can, walk or bike to your destination.
  • Take a 10-minute activity break at work to stretch or take a quick walk, or use your lunch break to add some more activity to your day.
  • Walk to visit co-workers instead of sending an e-mail message.
  • Go dancing with your spouse or friends.
  • Plan active vacations — go hiking, biking, swimming, and pack your tennis racquets.
  • Wear a pedometer every day and watch your daily steps increase.
  • Join a sports or recreation team.
  • Use a stationary bicycle or treadmill while watching TV.
  • Plan your activity routine to gradually increase the days per week and minutes per session.

Go online at www.heart.org for more information.

Healthy Habits 2013 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary’s Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Check out a “Healthy Habits” tip every Friday in The Herald-Dispatch.