February is Healthy Heart month and All Care is pleased to publish a 4-part blog series about heart disease, its effects, warning signs, and how to incorporate healthy habits to increase the health of your heart.

 Part 4: Heart Healthy Living

Getting regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease; and when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as diet and maintaining a healthy weight, the benefits are even greater. Physical activity helps to control your weight and can reduce the chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Try to set a goal of getting at least 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week although even shorter amounts of exercise offer health benefits so if 3o-60 minutes is too strenuous and you feel you can’t meet the guidelines, don’t give up! You can get the same health benefits by breaking up activity into 10 minutes sessions without over doing it and causing more health complications.

It isn’t always easy to find the time for exercise and a lot of times going to a gym or performing traditional workouts are not possible for people with certain physical and/or medical conditions.  It is important to remember that activities such as gardening, housekeeping, and walking the dog all count toward your physical activity goals for the day.  You don’t have to strenuously exercise to achieve healthy benefits, but you can see bigger benefits by increasing the intensity, duration, and frequency of your workouts.

A recent study found that you should complete 4 minutes of physical activity for every one hour sitting to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Think about the activities you do every day and try to brainstorm ways to incorporate more physicality to them.  Maybe you can park a little farther away at the mall and get an extra minute or two of walking, skip the elevator and take the stairs,  even folding loads of laundry and washing dishes count for physical activity so get creative, see how much you can move in a day and try to top it the next!

By taking the time to make small changes in your life you have the potential to make a big difference for your heart!