Health Insurance

How much cardio do you need to do to boost your heart health?

We all know moving more is good for us. It can reduce stress, produce endorphins, and boost cardiovascular health and fitness.

But how much do you really need to be doing each week to improve your heart health?

The magic minutes

Experts say that a good baseline to aim for is two-and-a-half hours of moderate intensity physical activity each week.

That’s equivalent to 150 minutes.

If you’re getting some more vigorous activity, the goal to aim for is at least 75 minutes.

How vigorous is vigorous?

You’ll know you’re exercising “vigorously” when you find it hard to say more than a few words at a time.

Moderate intensity exercise is the sort where you are breathing harder than normal but are still able to talk – maybe chatting to your walking or jogging buddy.

What counts?

Moderate exercise could be things such as brisk walking, biking along a flat surface, ballroom dancing or gardening, according to this government resource.

More vigorous exercise might be things like running, an aerobics class, fast lap swimming or a sport like hockey or netball.

Why does it help?

Your heart is a muscle and cardio exercise helps to strengthen it so that it can more effectively pump blood around your body.  Exercise can also improve your circulation, which helps to avoid blood clots that can cause blocked arteries.

There’s evidence that regular exercise can also reduce stress. People who do at least the magic 150 minutes of recreational activity every week are 51% more likely to report having good mental wellbeing. With stress linked to things such as high blood pressure and lower good cholesterol, which can harm your heart, anything that reduces it should be good for you.

Don’t forget the strength training

Cardio isn’t the only type of exercise that can help your heart. Weight training can also be a benefit. It can help to reduce the amount of body fat you carry – including on the belly, which is a risk factor for heart disease – and some research has shown it could help to increase your good cholesterol and lower the bad stuff.

Some regular stretching could also be a good idea to help reduce the risk of injury and keep you flexible enough to maintain your fitness regime.

If you have a heart condition

The Heart Foundation recommends talking to your doctor before you start to add exercise to your routine, and getting some advice on how much and what you should do.

Want to talk

While you’re on your way to a healthier heart, you might be thinking about other changes you’d like to make in your life. If it’s time to check in on your insurance policies to make sure they’re fit for purpose, or if it might be time for some new cover, drop us a line. We’re here to help.


Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.

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