How to Stay Active for a Healthy Heart

Work up a light sweat for your heart.

A number of factors affect your heart health, with physical activity being one of the most important. Your heart is a muscle, and just like your biceps and quadriceps, it too benefits from a weekly workout. Because when your heart doesn’t get the care and attention it requires, problems can develop.

So how much exercise do you need to help your heart thrive? Not much!

The American Heart Association recommends that adults get around 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Some examples of moderate intensity workouts include fast-paced walking, water aerobics, dancing, gardening (it can make you happier, too), tennis (doubles), or biking. High-intensity aerobics, such as running, swimming laps, and hiking, are also beneficial, but make sure to consult with your physician before incorporating these exercises into your physical-activity routine.

Another important point to remember is that you don’t have to be “exercising” to stay active. Small adjustments to your day-to-day life, like sitting less or taking a few extra laps around the house, can contribute positively to your heart health. A great way to do this is to “habit stack,” or incorporate extra movement into your normal routine. Waiting for the coffee to brew? Walk up and down the stairs, do a quick set of squats, or get in a quick stretch.

This Monday, set a goal of getting in 30 minutes of physical activity, and try to keep it up for the rest of the week. If you don’t reach the 150-minute mark, don’t sweat it. You can always refresh your intensions the following Monday. Your heart will thank you.