Healthy Living: What’s the right exercise for your heart?

Physical inactivity is a major health concern that contributes to some of our nation’s leading causes of death, including heart disease and stroke. It also increases risk for obesity, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Fortunately, there is something we can do about this!

We know exercise is good for a healthy heart, but one might wonder how much and what kinds of exercise are best. For overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association AHA, recommends:

• At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week for a total of 150 minutes

• At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

• Moderate to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least two days per week for additional health benefits.

If you are trying to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, the recommendation increases to 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity three or four times per week.

This may seem overwhelming especially if you are not accustomed to exercising. Rule of thumb is to “start low and go slow” and remember that any activity is better than no activity! Simple things like walking and climbing stairs bring heart health benefits, as do jogging, swimming or biking.

I recommend walking for anyone getting started on an exercise routine. For most people, walking is easy, safe and can be one of the most effective forms of exercise to achieve heart health. If you are having trouble getting started, try multitasking by taking the dog, kids or grandkids for a walk. You can walk in the mall and window shop or take your cellphone on a walk and catch up on calls. I also find yoga to be extremely helpful.

Although recent reports cite a study in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings that indicate excessive exercise — defined as more than 450 minutes per week of high-intensity activity — might be bad for heart health, most of us do not exercise to this degree. The best way to ensure your exercise routine is right for you is to check in with your primary care provider or cardiologist.

Find out more about getting the right amount of exercise at a free seminar, where you’ll learn:

• What kinds of exercise are best for your heart.

• How intensely you need to exercise.

• Tips on how to fit an exercise routine into your busy life.

Space is limited so sign up today for one of the following locations:

• Feb. 8, Newport, with Cardiology fellow Michael Schiedler, D.O.

• Feb. 13, Corvallis, with Cardiology fellow Pratik Patel, D.O.

• Feb. 20, Lebanon, with Cardiology fellow Tim Becker, D.O.

Each seminar runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Benjamin Lee, a doctor of osteopathy, is a cardiology fellow with Samaritan Health Services.

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This information does not replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. Weight loss results may vary. Results can vary due to activity levels, calories consumed, proper supplement use and water consumption. These statements have not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration.