It’s never too late to start exercising. Once you get going, you’ll find it pays off. Even taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can make a big difference. People who don’t exercise are almost twice as likely to get heart disease as people who are active.
Regular exercise can help you:
- Burn calories
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol
- Boost your HDL “good” cholesterol
It is important to aim for at least 30 minutes a day 5 days a week of moderate-intensity activity. Start your work out at a slower pace and increase gradually so your body can adjust. You can increase your exercise duration gradually as you build up tolerance to your exercise plan. Your exercise plan should consist of aerobic exercise 5 times a week, stretching daily, and strength training 2-3 times a week.
- Aerobic exercise (“cardio”): Brisk walking, running, jogging, and biking are some examples. You should be moving fast enough to raise your heart rate and breathe harder, but you should still be able to talk to someone while you’re doing it. If you have joint problems, choose a low-impact activity, like swimming or walking.
- Stretching: You’ll become more flexible if you do this daily. Stretch after you’ve warmed up or finished exercising. As you start to feel the pull hold 15-20 seconds. Stretching should be slightly uncomfortable however, it shouldn’t hurt.
- Strength training: You can use weights, resistance bands, or your own body weight(yoga for instance) for this. Do it 2-3 times a week. Let your muscles recover for a day between sessions. Start with a lower resistance and repetitions and increase as you build tolerance.
Once you have started an exercise routine it is important to pay attention to how you are feeling. You should stop and get immediate medical help if you have pain or pressure in your chest or the upper part of your body, break out in a cold sweat, have trouble breathing, have a very fast or uneven heart rate, feel dizzy, lightheaded, or very tired. It’s normal for your muscles to be mildly sore for a day or two after your workout when you’re new to exercise. As you continue your exercise plan you will find it is easier to complete with less fatigue and soreness. Your heart is a muscle, it will become stronger and healthier as you exercise.