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Heart Health

The Best Physical Activities if You Have Heart Disease, According to Science

Thirty minutes a day is all you need.

When it comes to finding the best exercises for heart disease management, things can get a little tricky. Something that’s too intense may increase your risk of having a heart attack, but not working out intensely enough can also have detrimental effects. With all this in mind, it can be confusing to figure out how to get yourself moving.

Luckily, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) recently released some new guidelines for which exercises are the best for those managing heart conditions. Similar to regular healthy adults, the ESC suggests that adults with heart disease should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, which amounts to about 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Additionally, the guidelines suggest that strength training is a great option for those who have high blood pressure or diabetes, or those who are obese.

The Best Exercises for Heart Disease

According to the Mayo Clinic, moderate intensity exercise is generally defined as exercise where:

  • Your breathing quickens, but you’re not out of breath
  • You develop a light sweat after about 10 minutes of activity
  • You can carry on a conversation, but you can’t sing

With moderate exercise, your heart rate should be raised somewhere between 50 and 60 percent. Exercises to favor include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, golfing, gardening, and dancing.

“People with long-standing coronary artery disease who wish to take up exercise for the first time should see their doctor first,” said Antonio Pelliccia Ph.D., study co-author and chairperson of the guidelines task force. “The aim is to tailor the intensity of activity according to the individual risk of causing an acute event such as a heart attack.”

Pelliccia emphasized that exercising with the proper intensity poses more benefits than it does risks for people with heart disease. “With rising levels of obesity and sedentary lifestyles, promoting physical activity is more crucial now than ever before,” he said. :Regular exercise not only prevents heart disease, but also reduces premature death in people with established heart disease.”

So get out for a stroll, grab your bike, or enjoy an energizing yoga class as often as you can!

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