Exercise and the Heart: Best Practices for Preventing Heart Disease

Exercise and the Heart: Best Practices for Preventing Heart Disease

Young woman checking the sports watch measuring heart rate and performance after running.

Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death globally. The good news, however, is that regular physical activity can significantly reduce your risk of developing heart disease. In this blog post, we will highlight the importance of exercise in maintaining cardiovascular health and provide practical advice on starting and sticking to an exercise routine suitable for all fitness levels.


The Importance of Exercise for Heart Health

Regular exercise strengthens the heart muscle, improves blood circulation, reduces blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), and increases good cholesterol (HDL). These benefits collectively reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. For a comprehensive overview of how exercise impacts heart health, visit American Heart Association: Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life1.


Best Practices for Cardiovascular Health

1. Start Slowly and Build Up

If you’re new to exercise or haven’t been active for a while, it’s essential to start slowly. Begin with low-intensity activities like walking or gentle stretching and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.


For tips on getting started, see Mayo Clinic: Fitness Basics2.


2. Aim for Consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to reaping the cardiovascular benefits of exercise. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week, as recommended by the CDC: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?3.


3. Incorporate Different Types of Exercise

A combination of aerobic exercises (like walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming) and strength training (using weights or resistance bands) provides comprehensive benefits for heart health. Flexibility and balance exercises, such as yoga or tai chi, can also be beneficial.


Learn more about different types of exercises at Harvard Health: The 5 Best Exercises for Heart Health4.


4. Find Activities You Enjoy

Choosing activities that you enjoy will make it easier to stick with your exercise routine. Whether it’s dancing, hiking, playing a sport, or attending group fitness classes, finding something you love will help you stay motivated.


5. Set Realistic Goals

Setting achievable and realistic goals is crucial for maintaining motivation. Start with small, manageable goals and gradually increase them as your fitness level improves. Tracking your progress can also be very motivating.


For goal-setting tips, check out Verywell Fit: How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals5.


6. Listen to Your Body

It’s important to listen to your body and avoid overexertion. Pay attention to signs of fatigue, pain, or discomfort, and adjust your routine accordingly. Rest and recovery are vital components of any exercise regimen.


Staying Motivated

1. Make It Social

Exercising with friends, family, or joining a fitness group can add a social element and make workouts more enjoyable. Social support can also enhance your commitment to regular exercise.


2. Mix It Up

Variety can prevent boredom and keep your routine engaging. Try different activities or change your workout environment to maintain interest and motivation.


3. Reward Yourself

Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Rewards can be a great incentive to maintain your exercise routine. Treat yourself to something enjoyable when you reach a milestone.


4. Educate Yourself

Staying informed about the benefits of exercise and learning new techniques can boost your motivation and effectiveness. Resources like WebMD: Exercise and Fitness6 provide valuable information and tips.



Regular exercise is a powerful tool in preventing heart disease and maintaining overall cardiovascular health. By starting slowly, staying consistent, incorporating various types of exercise, setting realistic goals, and keeping yourself motivated, you can develop an effective and enjoyable fitness routine. Remember, it’s never too late to start reaping the heart-health benefits of exercise.


To schedule and appointment with top our cardiologists at Sam Houston Heart and Vascular visit

www.samhoustonheart.com or call 832-241-2001



  1. American Heart Association: Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life
  2. Mayo Clinic: Fitness Basics
  3. CDC: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
  4. Harvard Health: The 5 Best Exercises for Heart Health
  5. Verywell Fit: How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals
  6. WebMD: Exercise and Fitness