Physical activity - Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes - Physical activity

Routine physical activity and reduction in sedentary lifestyle can improve physical fitness, lower many heart disease risk factors such as bad LDL cholesterol levels, increase good HDL cholesterol levels, control high blood pressure, and help you lose excess weight. Physical activity also can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Everyone should try to participate in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at least 2 hours and 30 minutes per week, or vigorous aerobic exercise for 1 hour and 15 minutes per week. Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, is any exercise in which your heart beats faster and you use more oxygen than usual. The more active you are, the more you will benefit. Participate in aerobic exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time spread throughout the week.

Talk with your doctor before you start a new exercise plan. Ask your doctor how much and what kinds of physical activity are safe for you.

Another way you can begin to increase your activity level is by reducing how long you sit at a given time. People who sit for long periods of time have been found to have higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, and death. Reducing sedentary behavior by breaking up how long you sit will benefit your overall health.

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