Why should you exercise? Exercise keeps you strong, active and healthy. It is fun and should be a part of your life. Exercise can lower your blood cholesterol number. Exercise also helps control high blood pressure, diabetes and your weight.
It’s convenient, comfortable and safe to work out at home. It allows your children to see you being active, which sets a good example for them. You can combine exercise with other activities, such as watching TV. If you buy exercise equipment, it’s a one-time expense and other family members can use it.
What activities are good for your heart?
Be active whenever you can:
• Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
• Park farther away and walk.
• Get up and move around if you work at a desk.
• Walk during lunch.
• Exercise — walk, run, play sports, dance.
Heart healthy exercises should:
• Make your heart beat faster and make you breathe faster.
• Be done for 30 to 60 minutes without stopping.
• Be done on most days of the week.
Walking is one of the best and easiest heart healthy exercises. Playing sports, dancing, running, bicycling, aerobics, and swimming are good, too.
Walking for a healthy heart.
Begin slowly. Begin by walking 10 or 15 minutes three or four times the first week. Set a goal and walk a little more each week. You may want to work up to a 30 minute walk 6 days a week. Or maybe you want to walk 30 minutes every day of the week. Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Stretch and walk slowly for the first and last five minutes. Stretching and walking slowly help your heart to warm up and cool down.
Listen to your body. If you have any health problems, talk to you doctor about walking for a healthy heart. If you get breathless, dizzy, or have unusual pains when you are walking, slow down or stop. If the problem does not go away, see your doctor. Walking establishes good heart-healthy habits in children and counters the conditions that lead to
heart attack and stroke later in life such as obesity, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels and poor lifestyle habits.
Set a good example for your children. Children in the United States today are less fit than they were a generation ago. Many are showing early signs of cardiovascular risk factors such as physical inactivity, excess weight, higher blood cholesterol and cigarette smoking.
Inactive children, when compared with active children, weigh more, have higher blood pressure and lower levels of heart-protective high-density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol).
In older people, walking helps delay or prevent chronic illnesses and diseases associated with aging. It also maintains quality of life and independence longer.
If you have a family history of heart disease, check with your doctor first. It’s a good idea to have a physical examination and take a graded exercise test before you start an exercise program.
Sources: N.C. Cooperative Extension and the American Heart Association
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
3 teaspoons olive or canola oil, divided
½ small onion, chopped
¾ cup canned unsweetened pineapple tidbits, drained
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 small tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken in 1 teaspoon oil for 5 – 10 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, sauté onion in remaining oil until tender. Add the pineapple, soy sauce, ketchup and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Add the tomato, simmer 5 minutes longer. Return chicken to skillet and sprinkle with parsley. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Server over rice, if desired.