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Stay Physically Fit for Heart Health

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  • If you are physically inactive, you’re much more likely to develop heart disease, have a stroke, or other blood vessel diseases.

  • Regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity improves your cardiovascular fitness and helps reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. 

  • It is recommended that adults engage in at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate physical activity per week. Children and adolescents should get 60 minutes of physical activity per day.

  • You don’t have to be an athlete to lower your risk!  Regular activities such as walking, gardening, biking, housework, or dancing can be planned in your daily routine.

  • Along with a healthy weight and regular physical activity, an overall healthy diet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

  • A healthy diet includes eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lowering or cutting out added salt or sodium, and eating less saturated fat and cholesterol.

Benefits of Daily Physical Activity

  • Reduces the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure by improving blood circulation throughout the body.

  • Keeps weight under control.

  • Improves blood cholesterol levels.

  • Prevents and manages high blood pressure.

  • Prevents bone loss and helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.

  • Boosts energy level.

  • Helps manage stress.

  • Improves the ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well.

  • Improves self-image.

  • Counters anxiety and depression and increases enthusiasm and optimism.

  • Increases muscle strength, thereby improving the ability to do other physical activities

  • Provides a way to share an activity with family and friends.

  • Establishes good heart-healthy habits in children and counters the conditions (obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, poor lifestyle habits, etc.) that lead to heart attack and stroke later in life.

  • In older people, helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging and maintains quality of life and independence longer.

Suggested Dietary Guidelines

  • Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups to get the energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber needed for good health.

  • Choose a diet with plenty of whole grain products, low-fat and fat-free milk products, vegetables, and fruits.

  • Limit intake of fats and oils high in saturated and/or trans fats, and choose products low in such fats and oils to reduce risk of health attack and heart disease.

  • Replace sugar-sweetened beverages with water or low-calorie beverages.

  • Choose and prepare foods with little salt.

  • Consume potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to prevent or delay the onset of high blood pressure and even lower elevated blood pressure.

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