Authored by Revere Health

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy Through Exercise

November 27, 2017 | Cardiology

The heart is a vital muscle in the body, and an active lifestyle can help it grow stronger and healthier over time. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to exercise, and even what you think of as moderate activities can have a big impact on heart health.

Benefits and Recommendations

Regular exercise can help in a few areas:

  • Burning calories
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and boosting HDL (“good”) cholesterol

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. You can slowly build up to this if you’re just starting out, and gradually increase your workout to help the body adjust.

Getting Started

Getting started with heart-healthy exercise involves thinking about what you’d like to do, and what your current level of fitness is. Do you prefer to work out on your own, or with a trainer or in a larger class? Do you want to work out at home or in a gym? Set goals for things you want to build up to, and gradually work toward these. Check in with your doctor to confirm you’re ready for activities you’re planning and talk about any limitations you may have.

Types of Exercise

A good, heart-healthy exercise plan includes elements of the following:

  • Aerobic exercise: Things like running, jogging and biking are examples of aerobic exercise or cardio. These exercises help raise your heart rate and get you breathing heavily, but they generally won’t generally push you too hard. Consider low-impact activities like swimming or walking if you have joint problems.
  • Stretching: Stretching a couple times per week after warmups or after finishing a workout can make you more flexible. Always stretch gently—you should not feel pain when stretching.
  • Strength training: Use weights, resistance bands, and your own body weight to improve your strength. Give your muscles a day or two in between to recover.


Once you’ve confirmed with your doctor that your workouts are safe for you, pay attention to how you’re feeling during workouts. A couple considerations here:

  • Stop a workout and get immediate medical help if you have pain or pressure in your chest or the upper part of your body, or if you break out in a cold sweat, have trouble breathing, have a fast or uneven heart rate, or feel dizzy, lightheaded or overly tired.
  • It’s normal for muscles to be sore for a day or two when you’re new to exercise. As your body adjusts over time, this will fade—many people eventually enjoy how they feel after workouts.

Your doctor can offer additional recommendations and specific advice if you’re looking for a heart-healthy exercise plan.

Revere Health Wellness Institute is home to an exercise facility complete with expert staff available to both patients and community members. Our providers can help you increase productivity, improve general health and manage chronic conditions. We have a registered dietitian, physician and health education specialist on staff. Contact us today!


“Physical Activity and Your Heart.” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

“American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids.” American Heart Association


The Live Better Team

Telehealth is not appropriate for every medical concern, so it’s important to ask your provider whether a virtual visit is suitable for your needs.

Learn more about Telehealth

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.