African-Americans suffer from more lifestyle diseases than other races in the United States due to unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise. Recent studies suggest that a culturally sensitive form of physical activity, such as African Dance, may be effective for promoting weight loss in a population at increased risk for obesity and chronic disease.
Even with risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol, people who enjoy regular physical activity have lower death rates than people who have no risk factors but who aren't physically active. What's more, people with heart disease who are physically fit live longer and have fewer heart attacks than heart patients who aren't physically fit. The facts are clear: Regular physical activity benefits people who have heart disease as well as those who don't.
Regular physical activity helps:
Any type of physical activity is good if it makes your muscles work more than usual. The heart is a muscle and benefits from a workout just like other muscles in your body.
Physical activities that involve steady, rhythmic movement of the legs and arms are called "aerobic" exercises and are especially good for the heart. Examples include brisk walking, running, swimming, bicycling and dancing. Regular aerobic exercise conditions the heart to pump blood to the whole body.
Adults with chronic conditions or disabilities should get regular physical activity according to their abilities and should avoid inactivity. Work up to at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity activity (or an equivalent combination) each week. Preferably, activity should be spread throughout the week. Even greater benefits can be achieved at up to 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of vigorous-intensity activity each week.
Stretching and strengthening activities keep muscles in good working order. Include strength training in your exercise routine at least twice a week.
Muscles lose strength and flexibility as you get older. Common tasks become more difficult, such as bending over to tie shoes, opening a jar, lifting a bag of groceries or even getting out of a chair. When your muscles aren't in good shape, you're more likely to lose your balance and fall. Strengthening exercises can also help boost your metabolism so you get more benefit out of your aerobic activities and lose weight faster.
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