Saturday, February 28, 2015

Physical Activity and Heart Health

February is American Heart Health Month, so we are looking at lifestyle changes you can make to be more heart healthy. Today we are focusing on healthy lifestyle choices to be more heart healthy. 

Types of Physical Activity
There are two types of physical activity, aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity. Aerobic activity, also known as "cardio," is any activity that elevates your heart rate. There are different levels of intensity for aerobic activity. Some examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities are walking (< 3 mph), riding your bicycle (< 10 mph), doubles tennis, and ballroom dancing. Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity is more intense that moderate; some examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic activities include: running, biking (> 10 mph), singles tennis, aerobic dance, and jumping rope.

Recommendations for Physical Activity from the American Heart Association
For Cardiovascular Health the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity:
  • Aerobic Activity
    • > or = 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes per week; or > or = 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes per week; or a combination of both moderate-intensity aerobic activity and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
  • Muscle-Strengthening Activity
    • > or = 2 days per week moderate-intensity to high-intensity muscle-strengthening for additional health benefits.
If your goal is to lower blood pressure or cholesterol levels, the AHA recommends "an average 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 or 4 times per week."

Health Benefits of Physical Activity
Physical activity has many healthy benefits including lowering blood pressure, raising HDL (the "good" cholesterol), reducing risk of diabetes, and it has been shown to help with weight management

If you have a family history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart attack (myocardial infarctions), please check in with your doctor to get a physical. Tell your doctor your family history of heart disease, your concerns for your health, and ask about what screening you should do. I am a register dietitian, not your personal dietitian. Check with your personal RD or MD before starting a new diet or exercise program to make sure it is healthy, safe, and the right choice for you.

This week, we discussed dietary and lifestyle choices that promote heart health. If you missed anything, check out these posts:

So, how can you be heart healthy? 
- Eat a Healthy Diet. 
- Be Physically Active.
- Check in with Your Doctor.
- See a Registered Dietitian.

For more recipes, encouragement, and tips for healthy eating, follow me on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter . You can subscribe to this blog,, through BlogLovin.

No comments:

Post a Comment