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Cardio Exercises for a Healthy Heart

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How Much Cardio Exercise Do I Need, and How Often?
  • Before beginning any exercise program, get your health care provider's permission.
  • If you are just beginning a cardio exercise program, start with 5 minutes of low-to-moderate activity. As a beginner to cardio exercise, your goal is to work your way up to a moderate-to-vigorous level that increases your breathing and heart rate. It should feel somewhat difficult to you, but not painful.
  • Once you reach that goal and feel your heart rate and breathing increase, you can divide your exercise into sessions of no less than 10 minutes at a time, as long as they add up to a total of at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week.
  • Doing less than 10 minutes at a time won't give you the desired cardiovascular and respiratory system benefits you are looking for.
  • When you can safely and comfortably do 30 minutes of moderate cardio exercise at one time, you can add more time--or try more than one exercise during the same session.

    For example, you could take a walk, and then go swimming.

  • Be creative. Vary your routine and think of new activities you'd like to try.

  • Get your friends involved! Having companions to share exercise with will help motivate you and make the activity more fun.
  • Many communities have social organizations that focus on fitness and athletic activities like hiking, cycling, and swimming.

    Or check out your local YMCA or YWCA for fitness programs like water aerobics. Joining a group is a great way to get fit and make new friends of all ages.

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