Heart Health (Without Running)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week to maintain heart health. Children between the ages of 6 to 17 are encouraged to be active for one hour every day. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity makes your heart beat faster, and you breathe harder than you would while sitting or resting. Although these numbers may seem daunting, there are many ways that you can integrate movement into your daily routine.  

Running and jogging are common ways people can achieve both moderate and vigorous aerobic activity. But this type of exercise can be harsh on the body for some. If running works well for your own physical and mental health, go for it! For those like myself, running is just not the most enjoyable activity. Tailoring your workout routine to activities that align with your own passions will be the most sustainable.  

Remember: exercise should not be a punishment or a pain but something to enjoy! We can explore the diversity of ways to improve cardiovascular health, aka heart health, through moderate-intensity aerobic activity. 

Heart Health through Bicycling
Heart Health through Bicycling

Heart-Healthy Options

  1. In addition to running and jogging, brisk walking is an easy way to support your heart health. Whether you are taking a stroll in the neighborhood or walking to the store instead of driving, there are plenty of ways to add walking into your day. If there are no sidewalks or safe outdoor spaces available to you, community centers and schools often provide tracks. 
  1. Especially during hot summers where it can be difficult to exercise outside, swimming is a great way to relieve the heat and get your body moving. Swimming is an accessible activity, particularly for those struggling with arthritis or back pain. Regularly swimming can easily get you to two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity while enjoying the water.
  2. Unlike running or jumping, bicycling is a low-impact activity and can be as challenging or relaxing as you want. You are in charge of how fast you peddle and whether you ride on an incline or a flat road. Remember to wear a helmet, even if you are in a familiar neighborhood or path. 
  1. Regardless of age, enjoy simple recess activities like jumping rope and playing tag. Incorporate any cooperative games you love!. As long as it gets your heart beating a little faster, it can contribute to your weekly exercise goals. Active games are a great way to exercise without needing to pay for a gym membership or buy equipment. 

By Ilana Issula


CDC: Children’s Activity

CDC: Adult Activity

CDC: Swimming

Hopkins Medicine

Better Health

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