Exercise, even small amounts, can help improve heart health

women exercisingOne of the most important things that people can do to keep their hearts healthy is to get regular exercise.

According to experts from the American College of Cardiology’s Sports and Exercise Cardiology Council, even small amounts of exercise – including standing – can reduce the risk of heart disease. And greater reductions in risk can be achieved with more exercise.

However, only half of American adults get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week, according to the report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“The greatest benefit is to simply exercise, regardless of the intensity,” Dr. Valentin Fuster, editor-in-chief of the journal, said in a news release.

The report also reviewed recent studies that have suggested that excessive aerobic exercise may harm the heart. While that possibility warrants further investigation, current research shows that even for people with extremely high levels of training, the benefits of exercise outweigh the risks.

“The public media has embraced the idea that exercise may harm the heart and disseminated this message, thereby diverting attention away from the benefits of exercise as a potent intervention for the primary and secondary prevention of heart disease,” said Dr. Michael Scott Emery, co-chair of the Sports and Exercise Cardiology Council.

To see a guide to physical activity from The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, please click here.