Heart Disease Home > Heart Disease and Exercise

What Is Exercise?

Being physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent heart disease. It doesn't take a lot of effort to become physically active. All you need is 30 minutes of moderate-level exercise on most days of the week. If you already engage in 30 minutes of moderate-level exercise a day, you can get added benefits by doing more or choosing a more vigorous activity.
Most people don't need to see a doctor before they start a moderate-level exercise program. However, you should check first with your doctor if you:
  • Have heart trouble or have had a heart attack
  • Are over age 50 and are not used to moderate-level physical activity
  • Have a family history of heart disease at an early age
  • Have any other serious health problem.

Getting Started

Start by doing 30 minutes of a moderate-level activity on most, and preferably all, days of the week. Brisk walking, bicycling, and gardening are examples of moderate-level physical activity. You can even divide the 30 minutes into shorter periods of at least 10 minutes each. For instance:
  • Use stairs instead of an elevator
  • Get off a bus one or two stops early
  • Park your car at the far end of the lot at work.

What Is Moderate-Level Activity?

The following sections provide examples of moderate-level physical exercises that a person can incorporate into his or her daily routine.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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