Weight management is an important part of heart disease prevention. Eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising are the best ways to control your weight.
Being overweight or obese can lead to a number of heart problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart failure and heart attack.
Regular exercise can decrease your risk of these conditions and can help you improve your good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
How Much Should I Exercise?
To keep your heart healthy, you should do 2 ½ hours of aerobic exercise each week (spread throughout the week in increments of at least 10 minutes). You should also do strength training 2 times each week.
Aerobic exercise is any type of activity that increases your heart rate. Some examples of aerobic exercises are walking, jogging, swimming and bicycling. Aerobic activity helps heart health by preventing heart disease and other circulatory diseases by increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood and improving your circulation.
Strength training is any type of activity that helps you to build muscle, which increases your metabolism. Examples of strength training exercises are weight lifting, push-ups and using resistance bands.
Starting an Exercise Program
Before starting an exercise program, you should consult with your physician. At Wake Forest Baptist Health, your doctor will work with a team of health care professionals to develop an exercise program that's right for you. The team may include heart doctors (cardiologists), nurse specialists, exercise therapists and others.