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Move More

Find out why physical activity is important for health and how you can incorporate more movement into your life.

  • What is fitness?
  • In general, fitness refers to being physically sound and healthy as a result of regular exercise. There are three kinds of fitness, including aerobic (strengthening the heart and lungs), muscle strengthening (building muscle) and flexibility (stretching the muscles). Finding a balance between the three to achieve the best possible fitness is important for good health.
  • What is sedentary or leisure sitting time?
  • Sedentary time, often referred to by experts as leisure sitting time, refers to time spent physically inactive. The most common examples of sedentary time include sitting in front of a computer or desk at work or watching television. Prolonged periods of sedentary time on a regular basis have been shown to have a negative impact on overall health.
  • What is the best type of exercise for heart health?
  • Although physical activity is key to good heart health, there is no single exercise that’s best for everyone. Most adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of aerobic activity a week and engage in strength training activities at least twice a week. Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate over an extended period of time and includes activities like walking, swimming or biking. Strength training helps build muscle and includes activities like lifting weights or doing pushups. Together, aerobic exercise and strength training can boost heart health and promote a healthy weight.
  • How much activity do older adults need?
  • Current guidelines recommend that adults 65 years of age or older (without limiting health conditions) get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise like brisk walking each week, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
  • How long should I exercise each day?
  • Although it’s recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week, that doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once. By breaking up physical activity into small chunks of time (10 minutes or more), you can fit exercise more easily into your day and get the same health benefits.
  • What are muscle-strengthening activities?
  • Muscle-strengthening activities are an important part of physical activity. Current guidelines recommend that adults of all ages get at least two days a week of muscle-strengthening activities, such as lifting weights, working with resistance bands and doing sit-ups. Heavy gardening (digging, shoveling, etc) and yoga are also considered muscle-strengthening activities, which can boost heart health.
  • How much exercise do I need?
  • Regular physical activity is important for both children and adults. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans:

    • Children and adolescents should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily.
    • Optimum exercise levels for adults includes:
      • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (or a combination of the two) each week.
      • Activity spread across the week with periods of aerobic exercise of at least 10 minutes at a time.
      • Muscle strengthening activities 2 or more days a week.
  • What is the best exercise for heart attack patients?
  • In general, aerobic exercise and strength training are recommended for heart attack patients. Aerobic exercise includes activities like walking or jogging, and strength training can include lifting weights or using resistance bands to build muscle. However, it’s important that heart attack patients work closely with their providers to create a workout program that’s right for them.
  • Is it safe to exercise after a heart attack?
  • Although many patients are nervous to exercise after a heart attack, research shows that regular exercise is one of the best ways to strengthen the heart and reduce risk of a recurrent heart attack. It’s important that heart attack patients work closely with their healthcare providers to create an exercise program that is safe for them.
  • How is gestational diabetes treated?
  • In most cases, women developing diabetes during pregnancy can control their blood sugar levels through lifestyle changes, like eating right and staying active. However, some women require insulin therapy to control their condition.
  • How can I reduce sedentary time?
  • Research continues to show that sedentary time increases cardiovascular risk, regardless of how much leisure time activity we may get. To help reduce sedentary time, cut back on time spent watching TV and replace it with some type of activity, like cleaning or going for a quick walk. For individuals who spend most of the day in front of a computer, get up and take a walk every hour, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Standing desks are also becoming increasingly popular, as they help reduce time spent sitting in front of the computer.
  • If I exercise regularly, should I be worried about sedentary time?
  • Although exercising regularly helps improve heart health, it doesn’t completely cancel out time spent sedentary during the rest of the day. Sitting for long periods of time each day can increase cardiovascular risk, despite leisure time activity. Therefore, minimizing the amount of time spent sitting and getting enough exercise is important to promoting heart health.
  • What can I do to keep my weight in check?
  • Talk with your health care team. If you have or are at risk for heart disease, it is important to adopt heart healthy habits. This means being thoughtful about the kinds of foods you eat, how you prepare them and how many calories and how much fat you consume. Try to eat a low-fat diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and lean meats. You should also carve out time to exercise every day. See CardioSmart’s Eat Better and Move More areas for more information.

  • How does sedentary time affect heart health?
  • Many studies have shown that time spent inactive—sitting or lying down—can have a negative impact on our health, increasing risk for heart disease and diabetes. Experts suggest that limiting or reducing sedentary time can help improve heart health, even if it means simply standing up or walking instead of sitting down for an hour or two a day.
  • Why is it important to know your BMI and waist circumference?
  • BMI can be helpful in determining if you’re a healthy weight or not, but it’s not 100% accurate. If you have very little or very high amounts of muscle, your BMI will be skewed. Also, research has shown that how we carry weight is more important than our BMI when it comes to risk for heart disease. Belly fat is a known risk factor for heart disease and carrying excess weight around the midsection raises cardiovascular risk, regardless of BMI.
  • How can older adults improve and extend quality of life?
  • The best way for older adults to live longer and healthier is to prevent and manage chronic conditions through physical activity and diet. It’s important to reduce and control any cardiovascular risk factors that you may have, and to take advantage of preventive services like health screenings and immunizations.
  • What role does physical activity play in health and nutrition?
  • Regular physical activity is important for both children and adults. Based on the high rates of obesity, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that most Americans reduce their food intake and increase their physical activity level. Even people who are overweight can derive health benefits from engaging in some level of activity.

    According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans:

    • Children and adolescents should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily.
    • Optimum exercise levels for adults includes:
      • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (or a combination of the two) each week.
      • Activity spread across the week with periods of aerobic exercise of at least 10 minutes at a time.
      • Muscle strengthening activities 2 or more days a week.
  • What is depression?
  • Clinical depression is a mood disorder that causes feelings of sadness, loss and anger to interfere with one’s daily life. Although the cause for depression is generally unknown, depression is often treated with antidepressants and/or talk therapy with a professional.
  • What if I have tried to learn more about my health but still have trouble understanding?
  • Patients who have trouble understanding their health conditions should ask for help from their health care team, whether it's a doctor, nurse or counselor. Health care providers can help point patients to a variety of resources that can cater to individual needs.
  • What is a "healthy" amount of TV viewing?

  • Based on study findings, Americans should limit their TV viewing to less than 2 hours each day. However, a “healthy” amount of TV viewing may vary depending on the health of the viewer. For example, if you watch more than 2 hours of TV each day but exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet and weight, you will likely have less risk for conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes than those with a less healthy lifestyle.
  • What are the best low-impact exercises that achieve cardiovascular benefits?

  • Some of the best low-impact exercises include stretching, swimming, rowing, weight training, yoga and walking. But before incorporating a new exercise into your daily routine, always check with your health care provider to make sure that you understand the possible benefits and risks to your health.
  • Why do children need 60 minutes of physical activity a day for good health?

  • Although experts do not know exactly how much exercise children need to minimize cardiovascular risk, research shows that 60 minutes is the minimum amount of physical activity that children need to promote good health. Recent research shows that the more children exercise on a regular basis, the less likely they are to have cardiovascular risk factors, such as being overweight or having high blood pressure.
  • Where can you buy standing desks?

  • There are a variety of companies that sell standing desks, such as GeekDesk and Relax the Back from California. Most are motorized and include or require a special adjustable chair.
  • Why does heart failure limit exercise capacity?

  • Chronic heart failure can cause a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, swelling and shortness of breath, which can limit one’s ability to exercise. However, increasing physical activity despite these symptoms has been shown to strengthen the body, reduce symptoms and improve quality of life in heart failure patients.

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