Walking, swimming, cycling, jogging, skiing, aerobic dancing or any of dozens of other activities can help your heart. They all cause you to feel warm, perspire and breathe heavily without being out of breath and without feeling any burning sensation in your muscles.
Whether it is a structured exercise program or just part of your daily routine, all exercise adds up to a healthier heart. Take the first step by walking. It's free, easy to do and when you have a walking companion, you're more likely to stay motivated.
Here are some tips for exercise success:Dress for success!
- Wear comfortable, properly fitted sneakers or flat shoes with laces.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing appropriate for the weather and the activity.
slowly. Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity on most
or all days of the week (or whatever your doctor recommends).
at the same time of day so it becomes a regular part of your lifestyle.
For example, you might walk every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and
Saturday from noon to 12:30 p.m.
- Find a convenient time and place to do activities. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. If you miss an exercise opportunity, work activity into your day another way.
you've been sedentary for a long time, are overweight, have a high risk
of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem, see
your doctor for a medical evaluation before beginning a physical
- Look for chances to be more active during
the day. Walk the mall before shopping, take the stairs instead of the
escalator or take 10–15 minute breaks while watching TV or sitting for
walking or some other activity.
- Don't get discouraged if you stop for a while. Get started again gradually and work up to your old pace.
- Don't exercise right after meals, when it's very hot or humid, or when you just don't feel up to it.
activities that are fun, not exhausting. Add variety. Develop a
repertoire of several activities that you can enjoy. That way, exercise
will never seem boring or routine.
- Ask family and friends
to join you — you'll be more likely to stick with it if you have
company. Or join an exercise group, health club or the YMCA. Many
churches and senior centers offer exercise programs too. (Remember to
get your doctor's permission first.)
- Use variety to keep your interest up. Walk one day, swim the next, then go for a bike ride on the weekend.
- Use music to keep you entertained.
your activities on a calendar or in a logbook. Write down the distance
or length of time of your activity and how you feel after each session.
- Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones. Nothing motivates like success!
- Visit to find all the resources you need to get moving and stay motivated.