Now that spring is here and the weather is warming up, it’s a good time to get outside and get your heart pumping. A. Marc Gillinov, MD, a cardiac surgeon at Cleveland Clinic's Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute, says exercise plays a big role in heart health—and the warmer weather makes it easier to get outside and get going.
“Before dinner or after dinner, go out with your kids, go out with your spouse,” Dr. Gillinov suggests. “Walk around the neighborhood, throw a baseball around. You don’t have think about it as something I must do. Rather it can be something I want to do. Something that is fun.”
Dr. Gillinov says one of the best exercises you can do for your heart is to walk. He suggests walking at a pace so that you can talk, but it’s a little bit tough. He says it’s not a “window-shopping walk.”
One caveat: If you have a family history of heart problems or chest pain, consult your doctor first.
Get a friend to join you, too, for company, he suggests. And you should not try to do too much to start.
“Ideally, we’d like to see everyone walking for 30 minutes or more a day,” Dr. Gillinov says. “Not five days a week, seven days a week would be best. But you don’t have to do that on day one. Start out day one with 10 minutes of walking. Then over the course of two, three or four weeks, increase it bit by bit, until you hit a half-hour.”
Dr. Gillinov says you should also do some resistance training, too, to benefit your heart. So, plan a little time in the weight room as well.