Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the United States, but what we often fail to recognize is that it is preventable in the majority of cases. Taking the steps to avoid heart disease can begin at a young age - the more active you are the better, so make it a family affair! The NIH is teaming up with a program called “The Heart Truth” to encourage people of all ages to “Move With Heart”, check it out at movewithheartpledge.com. Of course, everyone’s appropriate level of physical activity will vary, but it's usually recommended to aim for two and a half hours of weekly exercise that gets your heart pumping and leaves you a little breathless.
Heart Disease Facts:
- 17.9 million deaths occur every year due to heart disease worldwide
- 2,300 Americans die from it every day - that equals 1 person every 38 seconds!
- The heart does more physical work than any other muscle in the body
- In a 70-year lifetime the average heart beats 2.5 billion times
Tips to Help Staying Active:
- Despite the suggestion of 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of physical activity a week, as little as 60 minutes helps your heart
- If you don't have long periods of time to exercise in a day, break it into small 10-minute chunks and sneak in 3 sessions a day
- Walking briskly 5 minutes away, then turning to walk back
- Dancing to three songs - this one is even fun!
- Getting off public transportation early to walk the last few blocks
- How do you know if you are moving enough to help your heart?
- Your heart will begin to beat faster
- You will begin to breath harder
- You will break a sweat
- Get motivated to commit to a healthy routine
- Ask a friend or family member to join you
- Do something you love
- If you love the outdoors, take a walk through the park
- If you love the water, take a swim in a local pool or lake
- If you have a pet, bring them along with you
If you have a chronic health condition such as previous heart disease, arthritis or diabetes, talk to your health care practitioner first about what physical activity is safe for you.
By: Mitchell Kincaid & Anthony Walrath, 2018 PharmD Candidates