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Is Exercise Enough to Have a Healthy Heart?

Enjoy improved heart health with increased exercise and a healthy diet.

By Isarat at Shutterstock

It’s recommended that everyone (both adults and children) log at least 2.5 hours of heart-healthy exercise every week. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t dedicating that amount of time to physical activity. We lead busy lives filled with work, family duties, and social obligations. As a result, it’s easy for our exercise routines to fall by the wayside.

Unfortunately, being active is more important than most people realize. Exercise can help you feel more energetic and positive, think clearly, and even sleep better. You’ll find yourself performing daily tasks with relative ease if you’re more active. For a healthy heart, regular workouts are crucial.

Exercise Recommendations

Fitting in exercise every week is essential. Let’s start with adult recommendations since adults tend to be at higher risk for heart disease or complications.

  • Adults should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week.
  • They should engage in moderate or high-intensity strength training twice per week.
  • Most adults need to spend less time sitting each day.
  • Scheduling at least 5 hours of exercise per week can increase adult health benefits.
  • All forms of exercise should be entered safely and gradually increased.

For children:

  • Children should be physically active and move around throughout the day.
  • Children from age 6 to 17 should have at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity.
  • Vigorous activity three days per week is ideal.
  • Muscle- and bone-strengthening techniques should be included three days per week.
  • As with adults, gradually increase the frequency and intensity of the exercise regimen.

Diet

Alongside regular physical activity, your heart needs healthy nutrients. Pair your new exercise regimen with a heart-healthy diet, including nutritious fats and protein. Some key items to include in your daily meals are:

  • Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits
  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Whole-grain pasta and rice
  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Skinless poultry
  • Soybeans
  • Lean ground mean
  • Fish, especially fatty ones like salmon

As you can see, a heart-healthy diet is quite varied. You’re not stuck eating the same meal over and over again like with some diets. Instead, you can plan meals and cook appropriately portioned meals to improve the overall strength and resiliency of your heart.

When paired with exercise, an improved diet will help your reap countless health benefits. For example, you’ll reduce your risk of heart disease or heart attack. At the same time, you’ll strengthen the muscles and valves of the heart, leading to increased blood flow and fewer issues overall.

If you’re ready to take a step in the right direction for your heart, call Brookhaven Heart. We have experienced cardiologists available daily who specializes in helping patients overcome their heart ailments and lead healthy lifestyles.

Schedule an appointment with our heart care physicians by calling 631-654-3278!