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The 4 Best Exercises For a Healthy Heart

Sep 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM Chime in now

healthy heart exercises

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You know you should exercise to lower your risk for heart disease, but you’re already crunched for time. Which exercise should you choose and how can you get the best benefits out of it? Start by checking in with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to embark on an exercise program and then consider these top performers:

1. Walking is easy, convenient, and boy is it effective. In one large study, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that walking half an hour a day cut the overall risk of heart disease by 18 percent. In a study of the benefits of walking for people with diabetes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that just two hours of walking per week can reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 34 percent.

>2. Running can be even more effective than walking if you can do it safely. In the Harvard study, people who ran at least one hour per week cut their risks of heart disease by 42 percent. High intensity aerobic exercise, such as running, has been associated with improvements in a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors, including physical fitness, increased HDL (the good cholesterol), decreased blood pressure and decreased inflammation, says Frank Hu, M.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health.

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