Even a Little Hustle is Good for the Heart


Want to know how to keep your heart healthy? A healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds is a good place to start. If you need a little help learning to develop heart-healthy eating habits, check out our selection of Low-Sodium meals.

But to optimize heart health, you need to exercise it too. If you feel like you're too busy to fit in a formal workout or 60-minute exercise class, you're not alone. But that's not a good enough reason to not exercise, according to the American Heart Association.

Even a little movement like taking the stairs instead of the elevator can improve heart health and boost cardiovascular fitness. Maybe you enjoy training in the gym. Great, but it's not the only way to strengthen your heart. Playing recreational sports like soccer or basketball will also help exercise your heart, build strong bones, and improve cardiovascular fitness.

If you're not very active right now, start. Look for ways to sit less and move more. Set a goal to exercise 150 to 300 minutes a week, and include two days of strength training to build strong bones and muscles. Take it one day at a time.

It's an investment in your health, not just your heart. Regular exercise helps reduce the risks of falls, fractures, and chronic disease. Research shows being active also supports brain health, improves sleep, lowers the risk for dementia, and even reduces the risk for anxiety and depression.

If you don't get enough exercise, you're not alone. Only about 20 percent of adults in the U.S., actually meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. If that's you, do something about it. Get up and go for a walk right now.