Heart-Healthy Living - Get Regular Physical Activity - Get Regular Physical Activity

Regular physical activity can:

  • Help you lose excess weight
  • Improve physical fitness
  • Lower many heart disease risk factors such as “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels, and manage high blood pressure
  • Lower stress and improve your mental health
  • Lower your risk for other conditions such as type 2 diabetes, depression, and cancer

Talk with your doctor before you start a new exercise plan. Discuss how much and what types of physical activity are safe for you. Even modest amounts of physical activity are good for your health. Get inspired from this video.

This video shows small changes you can make to move more throughout the day. These include taking the stairs, parking farther away from your destination, and getting up and taking breaks from your computer. You can build up to activity that gets your heart beating faster and eventually aim to move for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes each week. If you are busy, break the activity up into smaller chunks of time—it all adds up. Do activities that are fun, such as jumping rope, taking brisk walks, and dancing.

Aerobic exercise benefits your lungs the most. This is any exercise in which your heart beats faster and you use more oxygen than usual, such as brisk walking, running, biking, and swimming.

The more active you are, the more you will benefit. Participate in aerobic exercise for at least a few minutes at a time throughout the week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that each week, adults get at least:

  • 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (for example, 30 minutes 5 days a week), or
  • 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (for example, 25 minutes 3 days a week), or
  • A combination of both moderate-intensity and vigorous-intensity activity.

Another way you can begin to increase your activity level is by reducing how long you sit at a given time. Breaking up how long you sit will benefit your overall health.

Learn more about physical activity in our Physical Activity and Your Heart Health Topic.