Exercise your heart during American Heart Month

NC_youngstrokes0224_700x394(NBC News) February is “Heart Month.” A time to raise awareness about the nation’s number one killer: heart disease.

Exercise greatly reduces the risk for heart disease but many of us aren’t getting enough.

A new survey from cardiologists at the Cleveland Clinic finds 40% of us are not meeting the minimum recommendations for exercise.

30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of walking, biking, lifting weights.

Any kind of moderate physical activity goes a long way in improving measures of cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.

Fitness experts say start small and stay realistic.

“Don’t expect to lose 20 pounds in that first month. Don’t expect to go to every class, you know, five days a week, right in a row ,” said YMCA fitness director Candice Case.

Just as exercise can help prevent heart problems. It’s equally important for people already living with heart disease.

Doctors say they should be getting just as much physical activity as anybody else.

“Now the one caveat I would say to that is that they should build an exercise program with a professional.. So with their cardiologist or with their sports cardiologist,” cardiologist Dr. Dermot Phelan said.

And if you have those days that are impossible to work in a work-out, don’t take it sitting down.

Studies have shown simply standing for 2 hours a day can reduce heart disease risk by 10%.

When it comes to exercise peer pressure is a good thing!

It helps to get a buddy who will hold you accountable.

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