• Physical Activity

    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
    • stroke 
    • obesity
    • 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 attackand 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.

  • More About Physical Activity

    5 Tips to Keep You Moving During the Holidays

    During the holidays, routines often go out the window. Diet? Blown with the influx of cookies and decadent party buffets. Sleep? Pass the coffee, please. Exercise? Who has time? These changes to your healthy habits can take a toll on your heart. Try these five tips for squeezing in some exercise amidst the hustle-and-bustle.

    Are You Eligible for Cardiac Rehabilitation?

    If you’ve had a heart attack or have had other heart problems including surgery on your heart, you may be referred to a cardiac rehabilitation (or cardiac rehab) program.

    Beginners' Steps to Moving More

    Try these basic steps to work toward reducing sedentary behaviors and getting more physical activity and exercise.

    Common Exercise Myths

    There are a lot of myths out there about exercise, and the last thing you need is misinformation to discourage you. SecondsCount sets the record straight, dispelling common exercise myths. So, the next time you are active, you will know for sure what you are doing is effective and worthwhile for your health.

    Extreme Weather & Your Heart

    Shoveling snow is hard work and causes stress on the heart, especially when you consider that a shovel of snow can weigh about 16 pounds. Factor in the length of a driveway or sidewalk and the shock of the cold air, and it can add up to a lot of strenuous activity for someone who may have underlying cardiovascular disease or who is often sedentary. Watch as SecondsCount Editor and nurse practitioner Rena L. Silver, MSN, APN, CNP, discusses the special risks posed by snow shoveling and precautions to take.

    General Safety Tips for Getting Started With Exercise

    No matter which type of exercise you do, there are certain factors to consider each and every time you exercise. Most are important for your safety.

    How Often Should You Be Physically Active For A Healthy Heart?

    Any physical activity is better than none, but the closer you are to the recommended amounts, the more you will reap the health benefits.

    How to Get FITT!

    All three types of exercise—cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and stretching—are important for physical fitness. Interval training, an advanced cardiovascular training technique, offers additional benefits. Start where you are most comfortable. Then use the acronym FITT for an easy way to remember how to continually adjust your exercise to improve your fitness.

    How to Pick an Exercise Class That Is Right For You

    Exercise classes can be a fun way to exercise, relieve stress, and meet friends. But sometimes they can be intimidating. SecondsCount can help you find an exercise class that’s right for you.

    Keep Boredom at Bay: One Month of Fun Physical Activities

    It happens to the best of us. You barely get started on a path to being more active and suddenly you’re bored. Don’t give boredom a chance to set in. Try a month of these suggestions to keep you having fun and feeling motivated to continue living an active lifestyle!

    Meditation & Your Heart: Stress-Buster May Reduce Risk for Heart Attack & Stroke

    Meditation is most often associated with Eastern thought, but forms of meditation appear all over the world. This is probably no coincidence. Regularly practiced meditation can be beneficial to your heart as well as your spirits, reducing your blood pres- sure and possibly lowering your risk of heart attack or stroke. Read on to find out more.

    Most Common Reasons People Stop Exercising (And What You Can Do About Them!)

    It is not easy sticking to a regular physical activity routine. There are many barriers that creep up when you least expect them—time, money, weather, self-consciousness, boredom and fatigue, to name a few. Don’t let your plans for a lifestyle of more physical activity be derailed one more time! SecondsCount has outlined a few practical solutions for some of the most common barriers to being physically active.

    Physical Activity

    Making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle is one of the most effective ways you can improve your own heart health.

    Physical Activity Tools

    When it comes to physical activity, are you working hard enough—but not too hard—for heart health? Here are some tools to help you gauge how hard your heart is working during exercise.

    Playing Santa: Giving Gifts That Encourage Physical Activity

    The holiday wish lists are in, and everyone has asked for the year’s hot new electronic items. Now what? You don’t want to be a Scrooge, but you’d prefer to use your gift giving to promote good health. Try these ideas to help you choose presents that’ll get your loved ones moving.

    Setting Goals and Starting a Heart-Healthy Physical Activity Plan

    Hopefully you are visualizing all the benefits of physical activity that can be yours if you only get started. If so, you are probably wondering, where should you begin? This SecondsCount section can help you get started.

    Special Considerations for Physical Activity

    Physical activity is not without risk, but for most people the benefits outweigh the risks. If you have congestive heart failure, are an older adult with heart disease, or have heart disease and limited mobility, these guidelines can help you discuss physical activity options and restrictions with your physician.

    Strategies for Healthy Holidays

    The winter holiday season may be the most difficult time of the year to stick with your heart-healthy regimens. Let’s face it, we’re busier than ever and the clock’s ticking to get everything done. WATCH as SecondsCount Editor and nurse practitioner Rena L. Silver, MSN, APN, CNP, offers Five Tips for a Heart-Healthy Holiday Season.

    The Difference Between Physical Activity and Exercise

    If you want to improve your physical fitness, but you find the idea of exercise overwhelming, it may help you to know exercise and physical activity are not the same thing—yet both are beneficial to your health. Learn the difference.

    Top Ten Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

    In medicine, there is no magical cure-all. But if there were one, physical activity would be it. No other therapy provides as many health benefits! Unfortunately, many Americans still aren’t moving enough to reap the rewards. Don’t let that be you. Take a step toward better heart health and get started today!