Recommendations to Stay Heart Healthy at all Ages

Recommendations to Stay Heart Healthy at all Ages

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and  women in the US, causing 1 in 4 deaths each year. To raise awareness, and because of its obvious heart tie-in, The American Heart Association (AHA) has designated February as the heart healthy month. While heart disease does have some genetic components, most of the risk factors can be reduced by making healthy lifestyle choices, specifically around physical health.

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 The AHA has set forth recommendations for physical activities to keep heart disease at bay and build healthy habits for life. This advice is predicated on the guidelines created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. We’ve listed them out below and added some ways that Healthtrax can help you incorporate these guidelines in for the entire year.

 

Heart Healthy Activity Recommendations for Adults

  • Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits. A standing desk and coming in for exercise during your lunch hour can help break up the long days of sitting for work and overall benefit heart health

  •  For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity exercise.  Alternatively, 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity can be substituted. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week for long term healthy heart benefits. A Group Fitness class 2-3 times a week can satisfy this requirement and keep things interesting!

  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week for additional health benefits. Talk with a Trax Trainer to learn some of the strength building equipment, or visit a Group Power or Group Active class to incorporate weights into your routine. We are happy to answer your exercise or heart health questions.

 

A note about intensity - Physical activity is anything that moves your body and burns calories. This includes things like walking, climbing stairs and stretching.

Activity that gets your heart rate up benefits your heart by improving cardiorespiratory fitness and brings the intensity to aerobic or “cardio”. When done at moderate intensity, your heart will beat faster and you’ll breathe harder than normal, but you’ll still be able to talk. Think of it as a medium or moderate amount of effort.

 

Changing Recommendations for Active Aging 

  • As part of their weekly physical activity, older adults should do multicomponent physical activity that includes balance training as well as aerobic and muscle strengthening activities. Swimming laps and joining Group Exercise classes are great places to start.

  •  Older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely. Working with a knowledgeable Trax Trainer can help to determine what is best for YOUR body. 

  • When older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.

Foundation Recommendations for Children

  • Children 3-5 years old should be physically active and have plenty of opportunities to move throughout the day.

  • Kids 6-17 years old should get at least 60 minutes per day of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity, mostly aerobic. Our Jr. Strength Training program is the perfect place to start learning about building life-long fitness habits.

  • Include vigorous-intensity activity on at least 3 days per week and include muscle- and bone-strengthening (weight-bearing) activities on at least 3 days per week.

  • Increase amount and intensity gradually over time.

 Need help translating these guidelines and recommendations into real-life? Come in and schedule a Healthy Start appointment with one of our Trax Trainers. We are happy to answer any health-related questions, especially when it comes to your heart. Healthy Start is free to every new member at Healthtrax. Even if you have been a member for a while, your first assessment appointment is always no charge. Inquire at your local Healthtrax for more information.