The human heart is a muscle, and to keep it healthy and working we must strengthen it by keeping our bodies physically fit. Every year it is estimated that more than 80,000,000 Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease. One of the best ways to lower the risk for conditions such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke is to understand how to care for your heart and to live a physically active lifestyle that will keep your heart strong.
Made up of muscle tissue and about as big as a fist, the heart is a pump that circulates blood throughout the body. In order for our bodies to function normally, we require large amounts of blood to flow through our organs and systems at all times.
Like any other muscle in the body, we must strengthen our heart through physical activity to keep it healthy. The American Heart Association suggests that adults ages 18 to 65 engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity for five days per week. Guidelines differ for those over the age of 65, those under the age of 18, and those with chronic conditions or physical limitations.
For some suggestions on how to introduce physical activity into your life, follow these tips:
By keeping your heart in good health, you are ensuring that your body has what it needs to function properly. Physical activity is one of the most important ways to increase your heart health and lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. By following these tips and making exercise a regular activity, your heart and other muscles will be happy, healthy and strong.
For more information about heart health and the risks of cardiovascular disease, visit the Cardiovascular Institute online.