Being active is good for your heart and your head. All it takes is doing 30 minutes of an activity you enjoy, 5 days a week. Regular physical exercise makes you feel and look good, and it gives you so many benefits for your overall health.
Why is being active so important?
Sadly, over 20% of coronary heart disease and 10% of stroke is due to physical inactivity. But it’s so easy to get active if you approach it in the right way – everyone can do it!
Ok, so what’s the plan?
Whatever age you are, we all need to do a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity, 5 days a week.
You can even build up to your 30 minutes (or more) by doing two or three shorter sessions e.g. three 10 minute sessions or two 15 minute sessions. You still get all the same health benefits.
However, each session needs to be for 10 minutes or more e.g. 2 x 15 minutes gardening; or 3 x 10 minutes walking, dancing or cycling.
When you are active you need to aim for ‘moderate’ intensity. This means you need to feel some effort in the activity. Your heart rate and breathing needs to increase and you should feel warmer all over, just like you do during a brisk walk.
Aerobic activity is best for your heart
Aerobic activity means you keep moving all the time. Activities such as walking, cycling, dancing, jogging are all excellent aerobic activities, as well as some household tasks such as vacuuming, cleaning windows, washing the car and gardening.
Add strength and balance exercises
Strengthening activities will keep your bones and muscles strong, and keep your posture happy too. Brisk walking, climbing the stairs, vacuuming and weight training are all strengthening activities. Aim to do these activities 2-3 days a week.
Balancing activities are also crucial as you age. Doing these 2-3 days a week will reduce your risk of falls. What’s a balancing exercise? Anything from standing on one foot, standing from a sitting position, walking backwards and sideways, to walking on your heels and toes.
The top 10 checklist for being active
Start being a little more active today and you’ll be feeling healthier and happier almost instantly. You may even be feeling better already just thinking about it? So get going!
Slí Na Sláinte – discover our paths and signs all around Ireland to help you walk your way to a healthy heart