Healthbeat 4: The heart benefits of an active lifestyle
SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - An active lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle. The American Heart Association wants people to move more and sit less.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. Moderate activities can be brisk walking, gardening, biking, or playing tennis.
The AHA claims physical activity keeps the body, including the heart and brain, healthy by relieving stress, improving moods, and ultimately preventing heart disease. Even starting with 10 minutes a day can improve your life, according to health experts. There is no need for a treadmill. It can start with simple activities.
“So taking one story or two stories will be good for the heart. Taking stairs just kind of gets that heart pumping. Also, you know, walking around the grocery store. You know you can walk around before you get your groceries that kind of gets the heart going and then do take your groceries or pick out your groceries. Same with shopping if you go to the shopping mall,” said Justin Hargrave, a family nurse practitioner at CNOS.
If you live a more sedentary lifestyle or the gym is intimidating, start small. If at high risk for heart disease, talk with a doctor first and know the signs of when to stop.
“You feel a funny heart rhythm, that’s where your heart starts racing or feel like you skip a beat. Or if your chest really starts, you have chest pain, chest pressure, just like someone sitting on your chest. You can’t catch your breath... Another one would be jaw pain that a lot of people don’t think about,” said Hargrave.
Working out the muscles works out the heart, providing lifelong benefits. An active American has a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes... the list goes on.
“Your body’s able to take in oxygen a little bit better, it doesn’t have to work as hard, you don’t get fatigued or tired as easily. And, you know, doing exercise working out also decreases any other chances of comorbidities,” said Hargrave.
Once you get moving, you can work up to muscle workouts or high-intensity activities. The AHA says every hour of brisk walking can increase some people’s life expectancy by two hours, so imagine what that could do long term.
Being active should pair with eating well. The AHA says an overall healthy diet is about balance and including color in your meals. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy protein. You should limit processed foods, added sugars, sodium, and alcohol.
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