February 15, 2016

Healthy Heart Talk

By Matt Wallen, Director of Rehabilitation, Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home
On Valentine’s Day, what could be more important than the health of your heart? Maintaining a healthy, physically active lifestyle is vital to preventing heart disease and stroke.
Physical activity is anything that moves your body and allows you to burn calories. This includes daily activities like walking or climbing stairs. Aerobic activities such as jogging, swimming or biking benefit your heart while strength and stretching activities are best for overall stamina and flexibility.
The easiest change we can all make to improve overall heart health is to start walking. It’s an activity that’s free, easy, and social. A walking program is flexible and effective because you are more likely to stick with it. It’s easy for a walking program to become routine in one’s busy life.
The American Heart Association recommends the following exercise for overall cardiac health:

  • At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days/wk for a total of 150 minutes


  • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes or a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic activity


  • Moderate to high intensity muscle strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits

You have to start somewhere right? Even if you lead a sedentary life, it’s never too late to make healthy changes! If 30 minutes is not a realistic option, set a more reasonable goal for yourself. As you get stronger, your activity tolerance will improve and eventually you will hit that 30 minute mark. Don’t let ‘all or nothing’ thinking prevent you from doing what you can every day. Something is always better than nothing!