Making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle is one of the most effective ways you can improve your own heart health. Physical activity can improve heart health by limiting the following disease states:
- high blood pressure
- blood lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) abnormalities
- type 2 diabetes and
- metabolic syndrome.
What’s more, even if you already have heart disease, physical activity can help prevent further heart disease and may allow you to live a healthier and longer life.
If you’ve already survived a heart event, then you probably already understand that you are mended, yet not completely cured. By searching for information on how to be more physically active, you are embracing your chance for a fresh start and taking control of your lifestyle—and therefore, your health!
Perhaps learning about the many benefits of regular physical activity might be all the encouragement you need to take a step in the right direction—literally!
But chances are, you will need more encouragement than that, because for most people it’s hard to determine how to change your lifestyle and be more active. And then you have to find the time and energy to put that knowledge into practice.
Yes, it can be overwhelming, but there’s good news:
SecondsCount can help you take your first several steps toward better heart health today! These pages offer practical tools, tips and support to show you how to be less sedentary and more physically active.
Remember, every single step helps. After getting your doctor’s approval to be more physically active, start simply: move more consistently than before, but not more than you are able. But the more you are able to do, the more you will benefit.
Before Getting Started – A Word of Caution
You should always speak with your doctor before you change, start, or stop any part of your healthcare plan, including physical activity or exercise. Reading health and exercise information online may be helpful, but it cannot replace the professional diagnosis and treatment you might need from a qualified healthcare provider.
Although there are many health benefits of physical activity, it is not without risks, including musculoskeletal injury, arrhythmia, heart attack, and rare sudden cardiac death. However—in most cases—the benefits of physical activity outweigh the risks. People with coronary diseasewho exercise are overall less likely to have a heart attack than those people with coronary disease who do not exercise.
However, before making any changes to your physical activity routine, your doctor should assess your current health status and inform you of any precautions you should take.
Your doctor may discuss the following with you:
- Especially is you have a history of heart disease, your doctor may want you to have a stress test prior to starting physical activity. A stress test monitors and records your heart’s electrical activity during exercise to determine the effects of exercise on the rate and rhythm of your heart.
- You may have conditions that prevent you from lifting or pushing heavy objects, such as weight lifting, shoveling, raking, mowing, and scrubbing. Your doctor can advise you of any limitations you have during physical activity.
- Your doctor can also help you decide which exercises are safe and may refer you to other qualified health professionals (for example, a physical therapist or an exercise physiologist) for guidance.
Of course, if at any time you think you may have a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1 immediately.