Regular physical activity is the backbone of your heart health. By including physical activity in your week, you can take care of your heart and blood vessels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
A more active lifestyle pays off. It improves several aspects directly and indirectly related to your heart health, such as a healthier body composition, better insulin sensitivity, cholesterol profile, blood pressure, and skeletal muscle and vascular function, while reducing inflammation and the risk of heart problems.
A good weekly goal to aim for is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity (or a combination of the two), complemented with two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities.
Even small amounts of exercise count. For instance, running for 5 to 10 minutes per day at slow speeds already improves heart health, and runners have been found to have approximately 3 years' longer life expectancy compared to non-runners.
You can benefit from any type of exercise—including aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise—and the benefits increase as you build up to the recommended levels. The activities can be divided into shorter bouts that best suit your routines and habits.
You can also improve your heart health by reducing inactive time. Many of us work sitting down for several hours a day. Taking a break every now and then to stand up and move about is an easy way to keep the blood circulating.