HEART HEALTH

Move More to
Fight Heart Disease

SET A GOAL OF 20 MINUTES OF DAILY
ACTIVITY AND EXERCISE FOR
A HEALTY HEART

Move more. The American Heart Association has designated April as “Move More” month. They suggest a starting goal of at 150 minutes a week. That breaks down to about 22 minutes a day. The activity can be light exercise or a workout, like a 20-minute walk during your lunch break. Pretty easy, right? This may sound simple (and it is) but adding activity time to your daily routine can also help you fight heart disease.

A 2018 British study published in the American Heart Association Journal, Circulation, reported that high fitness levels were linked to a 49% lower risk for coronary heart disease and a 60% lower risk for atrial fibrillation. Even for those with a family history of cardiovascular trouble.

“The main message of this study is that genetic risk isn’t deterministic,” says Erik Ingelsson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine and lead author of the UK study. “Even if your parents died early of heart disease, you can reduce your risk to the level of someone with no family history of the disease by increasing your fitness.”

The study examined 482,702 people in England, Scotland and Wales who participated in a research project known as UK Biobank, which recruited participants between 40 and 69 years old. Researchers followed the participants for about a decade, tracking activity and exercise through questionnaires, grip strength measurements and other tests. They found that regular exercise can help level the playing field for people with a family history of the disease.

PATIENT EDUCATION

HeartTalk on WGY

Listen to how you can get 20 minutes of daily activity and exercise – for every level of personal fitness!

If you have a history of heart disease in your family you might want to think twice about passing on the invite to join someone for a walk.

It’s really not that hard to fit in fitness. Every time you stand up and do something, you’re taking a step in the right direction. Every minute you move adds up, so make your me-time count! When you’re bored or frustrated, or just have some time to kill, go for a walk. It’s an excellent way to clear your mind and re-energize. Try a fitness tracking app or device to remind you to do something active several times a day. Looking to power up? When you’re out walking or biking, throw in some short, one-minute intervals at a faster pace to boost the intensity for more health benefits.

Move More at Work

Science shows that being more physically active has many benefits for your heart, brain and overall well-being. Take advantage of all your opportunities to sit less and move more while you work. Make it a habit to take the stairs instead of the elevator, for at least a floor or two. Once it gets easier, add another floor. Ask a coworker to be your “work out at work” partner. Remind and support each other to move more throughout the day. You’ll help keep each other accountable and motivated! Schedule physical activity breaks and reminders on your work calendar — and treat them like any other important appointment or meeting.

Move More Outdoors

You don’t have to go to a gym to get fit. Being active outdoors can make exercise seem more like play, which may help you enjoy it more. Plan family outings that include physical activity, like hiking, canoeing or swimming. Even a simple trip to the park can get you all up and moving. Get your garden on! Gardening, mowing and yard work are a great way to get active outdoors. No yard? No problem. Try container gardening or a local community garden with Capital Roots.

Move More at Home

Finding ways to be more active around the house sets a good example for kids and can even help you stay on top of housework! The goal is to sit less, move more and add intensity. Every minute you move adds up, so make your time at home count. Clearing the table, walking the dog, washing the car, taking the trash out, folding laundry, vacuuming and unloading the dishwasher are all good ways to get your family up off the couch – and get the chores done. Tune into fitness during TV time. Walk or jog in place or work out with weights while you watch your favorite shows. Challenge each other to see who can do the most burpees, push-ups or jumping jacks during commercial breaks or in between episodes. Instead of always having the TV on for company or background noise, play music that inspires you to get up and move. Add intensity by repeating movements. For example, before settling down in a seat, do some chair squats by sitting and standing several times in a row.

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Walking. Running. Bike riding. Anything you can do to increase your heart rate for 150 minutes a week with exercise or activity that increases your muscle strength and you can start reducing your risk of heart disease.