September 3, 2006

Tips for Healthy Exercise

Regular exercise is an important part of heart health, but experts say about 60 percent of American adults don't get the recommended level of physical activity.

To help educate people and encourage them to get active, the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has issued a new 44-page publication providing information about how exercise can benefit the heart and overall health.

Your Guide to Physical Activity and Your Heart outlines the kinds of activities that offer the most heart benefits and offers practical tips, including sample walking and jogging programs; how to find your target heart zone; ideas for getting the entire family involved in fitness.

"To maintain health, all adults should be moderately active for at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week," Karen A. Donato, program coordinator of the NHLBI's Obesity Education Initiative, said in a prepared statement.

"To help manage body weight and prevent unhealthy weight gain, at least 60 minutes per day is recommended. Children and adolescents also need to be active for at least 60 minutes per day," Donato said.

Here are some easy ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine:

  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park your car a few blocks from the office or store and walk the rest of the way. If you take public transportation, get off a stop or two early and walk the remaining few blocks.
  • While working, take frequent activity breaks. Get up and stretch or walk around.
  • Instead of having that extra snack, take a brisk walk around the neighborhood or office building.
  • Do your housework, gardening, or yard work at a more vigorous pace.
  • When you travel, walk around the airport, train station or bus station, instead of sitting and waiting.

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