February is American Heart Health month and at Kynetic Health, nothing is more important than keeping our patients and our community healthy and active. This month, our blog will focus on keeping your heart healthy with helpful (and healthful) information and tips.

If it’s been a long time since you’ve exercised and you are feeling less than fit, you might think it is too late to make a change. But you are wrong – regardless of your age, weight or activity level – you can (and should) improve your fitness.

Exercise has significant universal benefits across all age groups.

The benefits of exercise

According to the US Department of Health, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week; 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. The benefits of aerobic exercise are universal across all age groups and include everything from heart health to mental health, but most importantly, there is strong scientific evidence that shows that physical activity delays death from all causes.

Studies have shown that with 150 minutes of exercise a week, the risk of all-cause mortality is 33% less than in those who are not physically activity – this includes cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Don’t worry if you can’t reach 150 minutes of exercise a week – set a reachable goal for today and work towards the recommended amount in manageable increments.

While 150 minutes a week might seem daunting, the same studies show that any increase in activity, even less than 150 minutes a week, has significant benefits on a person’s wellbeing and mortality.

Oftentimes, the barriers to improved physical activity are mental : “Well, I’m 70, I can’t lift that”, “I’ve already tried diet and exercise but I am still overweight”, “My back already hurts, why make it worse”. But according to the US Department of Health – the benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risk of outweigh the risk of injury or heart attack, two common concerns that prevent some people from becoming physically active.

One step at a time

Physical activity shouldn’t be limited to aerobic exercise – strength training is just as important.

Don’t worry if you cannot reach 150 minutes per week of physical activity just yet. Even if you have been sedentary for years, today is the day you can begin to make healthy changes. Set a reachable goal for today and work towards the recommended amount by increasing your time as you get stronger. The simplest way to get more active is to start walking – remember, any amount of exercise is better than none.

Work Out at Work

  • If you sit at a desk, make a habit of standing up every time you make or receive a phone call. March in place or pace in a circle to keep moving.
  • Purchase a pedometer or step counter and set a daily goal of at least 10,000 steps per day.
  • Instead of sitting during breaks, try some office friend stretches or exercises to increase strength and balance. These include squats, wall sits, calf raises, desk push-ups, tree pose and chair pose.

Aerobic Activity and Muscle Strengthening

Physical activity isn’t limited to aerobic exercise – strength training is just as important. Weight-bearing aerobic exercise has been shown to increase bone density and help to reduce the risk of breaks, especially in seniors. To improve strength also means increased mobility and better body composition.

Talk to the Kynetic Health team for a comprehensive strength training plan, tailored just for you.