February is American Heart Month. This month, take the time to find ways you can improve your heart health. One important key to a healthy heart is exercise. If you are currently physically inactive, talk with your physician about an appropriate exercise plan for you.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), millions of Americans suffer from illnesses that can be prevented or improved through regular physical activity.
What are the benefits of exercise? The AHA lists numerous healthy rewards to routine physical activity. Exercise:
- boosts energy and capacity for exercise
- conditions heart and lungs, and improves circulation
- helps prevent and control diabetes
- builds healthy bones, muscles and joints
- reduces risk of colon cancer
- helps manage stress and relieve tension
- reduces depression and anxiety
- increases flexibility, strength and endurance
- increases good (HDL) cholesterol and reduces tryglycerides
- helps control weight
- helps lower blood pressure
- improves mood and promotes sense of well being
- helps smokers cut down or stop
- reduces risk of heart disease and stroke
The AHA also states that vigorous activities such as brisk walking, jogging, biking and swimming can strengthen your heart and lungs. But if you cannot do those activities, even moderate activities such as housework, yardwork or dancing 30 minutes a day can be beneficial.
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