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Exercise - Masterfile

Exercise can help make you stronger and increase what's known as exercise tolerance—how much you can physically exert yourself before becoming exhausted. The better your exercise tolerance becomes, the harder you can work out without experiencing angina pain. Exercise also helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

Enlist a buddy

Plan to exercise with your spouse, a family member or friends to help you stay committed. It's also a good safety measure in case of emergency. Contact your local Y or community center—they may have a walking group that meets regularly in your area.

Start slow and build up

"You don't have to work out like an Olympic athlete," says Robert Eckel, M.D., head of preventive cardiology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

How much exercise is enough to help your heart? Thirty minutes a day, at least five days each week, of brisk walking is fairly standard. However, if you need to lose weight for your heart's sake, your doctor may want you to strive for an hour of physical activity daily. You can break it up into 15-minute chunks.

Log it

Keep track of the time, speed and duration of your walks.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 18 Mar 2011

Last Modified: 03 Oct 2014