Get into exercise for a heart-healthy and happier you

Man walking the dogDid you know that there are over 10 ways that exercise helps our mind and body, but most people can only name a few? Some benefits of exercise include lowering high cholesterol, strengthening the heart, and helping treat anxiety and depression.

Alana Richardson, writer for Mediterranean Book, is passionate about lowering high cholesterol. She recently sent Extra Happiness some easy exercise ideas that can help treat this common health problem.

How much exercise do we need?
Getting on your feet
Easy ways to exercise
Set aside time to exercise
What are some forms of moderate exercise?

How much exercise do we need?

Health experts recommend that adults do at least half an hour a day of moderate exercise on most to all days of the week. Because of life’s countless demands, however, many people find this hard to do. Alana says even if you have many responsibilities, for better health and extra happiness make time for regular exercise. Three days a week exercise can help your mind and body, and it’s better than doing none at all, but for extra health benefits, strive to do more exercise over time.

Getting on your feet

If it’s been some time since you’ve exercised, it’s best to start off gently, Alana says. Do not dive into a heavy routine right away. Some people start with 10 minutes of exercise a day and, over a few months, gradually build up to 30 minutes or more.

Alana highlights that if you start off too vigorous you could end up in pain or burnt-out. She says speak to your doctor about any health problems or injuries you have because he or she can recommend the best exercise for you.

Like you should make time to see your doctor or dentist, make time to exercise and put it high on your to do list, Alana says. To stop getting bored with repetitive exercises, make sure you vary your routine.

Easy ways to exercise

Daily chores get your blood pumping faster and get you moving. Washing your car, raking the garden and vacuuming the living room all count as exercise, says Alana.

There are many other ways to add more exercise into your life. Walking is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to lose weight, strengthen the heart and lower high cholesterol.

How can we walk more? Alana says:

  • park further away from the store when you drive to the shops.
  • take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. This will help build-up the muscles in your legs and strengthen your heart.
  • stop relying on the car to take you short distances. Walk, cycle or roller blade… there instead.

You could also join a walking club, and get off the bus or train one or more stops earlier and walk the rest of the way.

Set aside time to exercise

Alana highlights that some people find it hard to fit one 30 minute or more exercise session into their day. If you are one of these people, break-up your workout into three 10-minute sessions or two 15-minute sessions. This can still achieve the same health benefits as one longer session.

What are some forms of moderate exercise?

Some types of moderate exercise include:

  • walking at a moderate pace, that is between about 5 to 6.5 kilometers an hour
  • cycling on flat ground at about 15 kilometers an hour
  • moderate level dancing
  • washing windows
  • mowing the lawn
  • vacuuming
  • doubles tennis
  • low impact aerobics
  • swimming laps at a moderate pace

Regular moderate exercise is a great way to lower cholesterol and strengthen the heart, Alana says. If you can, for extra health benefits, also lift weights and do some vigorous exercise.

Put exercise at the top of your to do list today.

Guest contributor Alana Richardson writes for Mediterranean Book, a blog on preserving healthy Italian eating traditions to inform people about the dangers of unhealthy eating.

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