What Exercise Can Do for The Love of Your Heart

11-01-2018The Well

One of the longest Nurses’ Health Study, which tracked more than 72,000 women aged 40 to 65 for eight years. Those who walked briskly for three or more hours a week were 35 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack or die from coronary heart disease than those who walked infrequently. But no sweat doesn’t mean no benefit. Walking around the block or hitting a shopping mall is better for your heart than sitting around the house. Don’t worry if you can’t do too much at one time. It’s the total amount that matters. If you have time for only a half-hour brisk walk during lunch and then another half-hour walks at the end of the day, you’ll essentially get the same benefit as taking an hour-long walk.

How much exercise to maximize effect

So how much should we walk or do to maximize the positive effect for our hearts? Here’s what the government’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend for adults:

To improve your health, do 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity like:

  • walking briskly (3 mph or faster, but not race-walking)
  • water aerobics
  • bicycling slower than 10 mph
  • doubles tennis
  • ballroom dancing

Or: 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity like:

  • race-walking, jogging, or running
  • swimming laps
  • singles tennis
  • aerobic dancing
  • bicycling 10 mph or faster
  • jumping rope
  • hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

The guidelines also recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities (like lifting weights or using resistance bands) that work all major muscle groups at least twice per week.

If you have questions about this article or concerns for your health or family’s health, feel free to contact Kathy Ford RN/Parish Nurse at pastoralcare@hscc.us or 630-922-0081 ex 28.

References
Br. J. Sports Med. 42: 238, 2008.
New Engl. J. Med. 341: 650, 1999.
Circulation 102: 981, 2000.
Ann. Intern. Med. 162: 325, 2015.

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