We all know that exercise is a good thing for our health. But getting into a regular routine is often the first stumbling block. Once you overcome that, you’ll begin to realize the benefits of establishing and keeping to a successful exercise program.
According to University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center Cardiologist Dr. Sara Saberi, “For the general population, great things result from habitual exercise. Studies show that people who exercise actually live longer.”
Preventive measures pay off
As a preventive measure, the American Heart Association recommends adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week (or 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) to help lower your risk of:
- Heart disease and heart attack
- High blood pressure
- High total cholesterol, high LDL (bad) cholesterol and low HDL (good) cholesterol
- Overweight or obesity
Tips to keep moving
- Get a buddy system going to stay motivated. If one of you starts to find excuses not to work out, the other can offer support and encouragement.
- Start small and keep building. Add 10 minutes each day to your walk or run.
- Set goals for yourself and keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones. If you miss an activity, try to make it up later in the day.
- Mix things up: swim one day, walk the next, etc. A good variety will keep you from losing interest.
- Invest in a Fitbit and take on the challenge of “beating” a friend. You can also find daily and weekly challenges on your Fitbit. Track the floors you climb, steps, calories, distance and more. Use Exercise Sharing in the Fitbit app to send your workout stats to friends.
Remember, if you have a high risk of heart disease or some other chronic health problem, check with your healthcare provider before beginning a physical activity program.
Take the next step:
- Read about exercise precautions for heart patients.
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.