Friday, Feb. 7, is “National Wear Red Day” to raise awareness for women’s heart disease.
A simple and positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health is to start walking. It’s enjoyable, free, easy, social and great exercise. A walking program is flexible and boasts high success rates because people can stick with it. It’s easy for walking to become a regular and satisfying part of life.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following to keep your heart healthy:
—At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (walking briskly) at least five days per week for a total of 150 minutes.
—At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of the two
—The AHA also recommends including two days of moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activities.
What if I know I won’t be able to make it for 30 minutes? Something is always better than nothing and everyone has to start somewhere. Even if you’ve been sedentary for years, today is the day you can begin to make healthy changes in your life. If you don’t think you’ll make it for 30 minutes, set a reachable goal for today. You can work up toward your overall goal of 30 minutes by increasing your time as you get stronger
—Reduce the risk of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and atherosclerosis. If everyone walked for 30 minutes daily at 3 to 4 mph (walking briskly) it would decrease the number of CVD deaths per year by 30 percent (284,886 deaths/year).
—Reduce the risk of diabetes (type two) by 58 percent in persons at high risk.
—Reduce risk of stroke by 24 percent walking 2.5 hours per week as compared to non-exercisers. Further reduced the risk of stroke by 46 percent walking 5 hours per week as compared to non-exercisers.
Physical Therapists can help if you have difficulty walking or a condition that prevents you from starting a walking program. Start walking today or contact a licensed physical therapist to help you get started.
“On the Move” is a periodic column giving healthy lifestyle tips and information on activities happening in the Skaneateles-area. Kraetz Physical Therapy is located at 796 Genesee St., Skaneateles. For more tips follow them at facebook.com/kraetzphysicaltherapy.