Cardiologist, author, and heart health expert Dr. Sarah Samaan offers advice on how to live a heart smart life.See all posts »
Exercise: A Little is Better than Nothing At All
A little bit of exercise a day can go a long way over time.
To keep your heart healthy and strong, you’ve got to exercise. Whether you are young or old, overweight or slender, able-bodied or dealing with physical challenges, exercise can make an important difference in the quality and length of your life.
Ideally, you should exercise at least 30 minutes, five days per week, or a total of 150 minutes weekly. By doing so, you may lower your heart attack and stroke risk by as much as 30 percent, compared to those who don’t exercise at all, and you will also reduce the likelihood of developing dementia. This really isn’t a huge commitment for such a great payoff, but for some people, it may seem like a lot. Can you get away with less?
A Taiwanese study, published in the August 16, 2011 edition of the medical journal The Lancet evaluated over 400,000 men and women and followed their progress over the course of eight years. The researchers found that as little as 15 minutes of exercise each day reduced mortality by a full 14 percent, and extended life expectancy by three years when compared with those who did no exercise at all.
Many of my patients start out a little intimidated by the prospect of working out, and I always encourage them to start slowly but deliberately. Once you get a habit started, it’s easier to build on it in the future. It’s great to know that even a small amount of exercise can make a big difference over time.
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