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How to keep your heart healthy

heart-health

Meet your heart muscle. This is the muscle that never rests, pumps 1.5 gallons of blood each minute, and beats 100,000 times a day.

Wait, there’s more: During your lifetime, your heart will pump around 1 million barrels’ worth of blood — enough to fill more than three supertankers.

What does it ask in return? Only that you take care of it.

The best way to do that, experts agree, is to get more active. That’s because physical activity directly reduces your heart disease risk and reduces your chances of developing other heart disease risk factors as well. Risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and excess weight.

Just go for 30

Maybe best of all, it doesn’t take a lot of activity to make heart health happen. You simply need to build up to 30 minutes of aerobic activity on five or more days per week. Aerobic exercises are ones that increase your heart and breathing rate. They are the best type of exercise for your heart.

And you don’t need to do it all at once, either. For example, 15 minutes of brisk walking in the morning and 15 minutes of bicycling in the evening get you to the 30 minutes you need.

The key is to pick an activity or activities you enjoy doing. Walking, dancing, swimming, running, bicycling, jump roping, Zumba — they all work. And there are countless other alternatives. It’s entirely up to you. As long you elevate your heart rate.

Put it in writing

You might also consider creating what the American Heart Association calls a commitment document. Below is a sample you can fill in yourself, or with help from your health coach. Post it where you’ll see it each day:

My plan for 2015

My goal is to be active _____ minutes a day, _____ days per week.

I will concentrate on the following activities to meet my goal:

__________________________________________

I am making this commitment for the following reason(s):

__________________________________________

Signature: ___________________________   Date: _________

Good luck on your journey to better heart health in 2015!