Get Active for a Healthy Heart

While heart health and how to prevent heart disease are important topics, many people in the United States, including Hispanics and Latinos, remain at risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 23 percent of Hispanics and Latinos in the United States have high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke if untreated, and nearly 9 percent have heart disease. This can lead to cardiac arrest, so we should all become more aware of what to do should this happen to a loved one. CPR training is absolutely vital and is also lifesaving.

However, you can lower your risk for heart disease in a variety of ways, and one of the most important is by becoming physically active. National guidelines recommend at least 2 hours, 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week for adults, like brisk walking where your blood gets pumping and you are a little breathless. If you find yourself short of time, you can incorporate physical activity in small chunks, such as three 10-minute intervals per day, and still achieve some heart health benefits.

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When done regularly, physical activity can give your entire body – not just your heart – a boost. Getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat can:

Strengthen heart muscles

Improve blood flow

Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Help control weight

Ways to Become More Active Every Day

In addition to working toward at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week, it’s important to avoid being sedentary, when possible. You can do that by making choices that build activity in your day. Some examples include:

Taking the stairs

Printing to the printer farthest away from your desk at work

Getting off the bus or subway one stop early

Parking in the farthest space from the door

Walking around while you are on the phone or having walking meetings

Being active with your children, including playing outdoors

Planning a vacation that includes physical activities

Playing soccer or taking a Zumba class with friends instead of meeting up for drinks or a meal

Putting on some music and dancing

Check with Your Doctor

Certain physical activities are safe for most people. However, if you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease, arthritis or diabetes, talk with your doctor about the type and amount of activity that is right for your health.

There are steps you can take at home to check up on your heart health too. For example, some people like to purchase medical equipment such as an ecg monitor to monitor their heartbeat rhythm without having to pay a trip to the doctor.

Ultimately, incorporating regular physical activity into your life can help your health in many ways, but it can be especially helpful for your heart. Find more heart-healthy facts and tips from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at