Get Active During American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, which means it’s a good time to assess how much exercise and activity your lifestyle includes. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in United States, but there are plenty of ways to limit the risks. The American Heart Association has a handy list of 8 Things That Can Affect Your Heart and What to Do About Them, and being active is one effective way to address a few of the considerations listed. Try some of these tips to get you moving in February and improve your heart health.

Follow the Guidelines

The Department of Health and Human Services has developed physical activity guidelines to provide a benchmark. Weekly recommendations for adults:

  • 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity workouts, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity (or a combination of the two).
  • Two or more days of muscle strengthening exercises of moderate or greater intensity.
Track your Activity

Using a fitness app is a great way to keep a detailed record of your exercise. But, even writing down your workouts helps. Keeping track of your activity shows you if you’re coming up short on the guidelines above. It can also serve as motivation as you try to improve upon your weekly workout frequency.

Shoot for Specific Activity Goals

Train for a 5K, try to put in 20,000 steps a day, set a monthly mileage goal on a recumbent bike, etc. Goals give you something to strive for, and in the process you might forget that you’re being active.

Block off Time Each Day for Exercise

Busy schedules prevent many of us from getting some quality exercise time in. Start adding time on your calendar solely devoted to physical activity. It only takes 30 minutes each day to make a difference and once you get into the habit, exercise becomes part of your daily routine.

Try Something New

If you’re normally a solitary treadmill runner, join a running club. If you need motivation for your cardio, sign up for an indoor cycling class. If you are unsure about how strength training works, find a personal trainer or join a small group class. Finding fresh ways to exercisers keeps you interested and in shape.

Find A Partner To Keep You Motivated

There’s strength in numbers. Asking a friend or spouse to be part of your exercise routine can turn a workout into a social event. And, having an exercise partner holds you accountable. You won’t skip a workout if someone else is counting on you to do it with them.