Michelle Bradley, an exercise physiologist with Sutter’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation, offers these simple tips to step up your fitness and heart health. Get up and get moving, and make conscious activity a part of your daily routine!
Start Moving Every Day
- The U.S. Department of Health and Services recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week – that’s just 22 minutes a day! This could be as simple as brisk walking, biking through your neighborhood, or mowing the lawn – any activity that gets your body moving and blood pumping.
Track Your Steps
- You don’t need a fancy pedometer – the Health App on your smartphone can be enabled by setting up your profile and having your phone with you during the day. You may be surprised by the number of steps you take doing everyday things like housekeeping and running errands. Taking the stairs, parking on the far end of a parking lot, or walking to a neighborhood store instead of driving will add up. Walking 10,000 steps a day is a great goal, but any daily increase should be celebrated!
Boost Your Effort
- Set aside time in your day to be really active. Brisk walking, swimming, taking an aerobic exercise class, or riding your bike on a local trail – anything that gets your whole body moving and heart pumping – will boost heart health, endurance and energy.
Incorporate Strength Training
- Consider adding exercise that builds muscle like training with resistance bands or weights at least twice a week. Along with decreasing heart disease risk, strength training also promotes good posture and keeps your bones strong.
Work the Weight Off
- If you want to shed pounds, step up your game! Federal guidelines recommend at least 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week for weight loss (twice that for maintenance and general health).
- Set achievable workout and fitness goals and don’t get discouraged if you fall short some days. The key is to find something you like to do and stick with it – this could mean trying different things. Getting and staying strong and active is a marathon, not a race!