Saint Francis' Fitness Plan for a Heart-Healthy Life

Heart disease is the number-one cause of death in both men and women in the United States. Saint Francis Healthcare urges adults to get annual screenings, but also to embrace a preventive lifestyle of diet and exercise.

Heart disease is often caused by high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, complications due to extra weight, and smoking. Your fitness plan should include activities that are right for your body type and abilities, while targeted at lowering these common risk factors.

Regular physical activity, even just 30 minutes a day, can help with a lot of these risk factors. Our team at Saint Francis Healthcare can create a lifestyle plan to help you become a better you! For a personalized exercise plan that’s right for you, we urge you to make an appointment with a Saint Francis Healthcare family physician, or a dietician.

30 Minutes of Moderate Physical Activity­—Each Day!

Exercises such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, dancing, and even strength training help reduce blood pressure. These are known as cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercises. They stimulate your heart and lungs, so that your body does a better job of using oxygen. It’s been found that 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day can help maintain a healthy weight, increase stamina, and lead to other healthy life choices.

Take a walk every day, before or after your workday. This gives your mind and body a chance to warm up, or unwind, and will help you maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure.

Two Hours of Vigorous Physical Activity Every Week

Spending two hours per week performing a more vigorous exercise—such as jogging, cycling, or running—in combination with the moderate physical activity will help reduce both blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Have fun with this! Sign up for a class you’ve always wanted to try—that Zumba or spin class at your local gym—and make it a staple each week. Grab a friend to work out with—it’s a great opportunity to see a friendly face andkeep yourself healthy!

Don’t Forget Your Diet!

Combining exercises with a healthy diet is the key to keeping yourself healthy and losing the extra weight. Diet and aerobic exercises, such as the ones mentioned, help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol).

Grab a bunch of fruits or vegetables and make a smoothie after a hard workout! Remember to include protein on the days you exercise as well to keep your energy level up.

Though it is the number-one killer of both men and women, heart disease can be prevented.

Take charge of your heart health by taking a few simple steps: don’t smoke, know your family history, and live a healthy lifestyle.

Call Saint Francis Healthcare and make an appointment with one of our specially trained physicians to learn more about the causes and symptoms of heart disease and the preventive measures you can take to avoid it. Call 302.421.4828.

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