News & Resources

Physical Activity and Your Heart

February 9, 2022

February may be thought of as the month for hearts of the red paper variety, but American Heart Month reminds you to care for your cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and cardiovascular disease affects almost half of all Americans. Some risk factors—like age, sex, ethnicity, and family history—are out of an individual’s control. But the good news is that there are some risk factors we can control. One of those factors is a person’s level of physical activity. Numerous studies have shown a clear, direct link between  increased physical activity and heart health. Physical activity strengthens your lungs and improves circulation. Regular physical activity can help you keep a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, decreasing your risk for cardiovascular disease. Making time for exercise every day also helps everyday tasks like walking upstairs or bending to tie shoes become easier as well.

It’s never too late to get started with exercise to help your heart stay healthy. Some physical activity is better than none. Here are some easy ways to get started with physical activity or increase the activity you already do.

  • Start slowly. Gradually increase your level of physical activity with low-intensity exercises.
  • Set a timer. If you sit most of the time, set a timer or a smartwatch to remind you to stand for five minutes at least once per hour.
  • Go for a walk. Walking is the easiest way to get started with physical activity.
  • People with limited mobility can try single leg raises or foot taps. Anything counts!
  • Try slow-flow yoga at pace that’s comfortable for you.

With practice and time, regular physical activity of any kind will strengthen your heart, improve your lung function, and decrease your risk of heart disease. An exercise program should be individually tailored. Ask your physician for suggestions tailored to your specific health and activity levels. Ridgeview Transitional Rehab takes pride in the state-of-the-art therapies we offer to help our guests rehabilitate and stay healthy and active.