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Ease Into Spring Activity

Keep your heart healthy as you head outdoors

SUNDAY, March 28, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Raise your hand if you spent your winter climbing in the Himalayas or snowboarding in Utah: You are excused from reading this.

However, if your idea of winter exercise means sitting up in a chair to watch television instead of lying on a sofa, then you need help getting active for the spring.

The key to starting or resuming physical activity is to take it easy and make it as easy as possible to do, recommends the American Heart Association (AHA).

If you have been particularly sedentary, are overweight or have health problems, you should see your doctor before embarking on a spring exercise program.

Otherwise, a sensible, regular program will get you ready for the outdoors, and the AHA offers the following suggestions to get moving in a heart-healthy way.

At home, take a brisk yet brief walk before breakfast. Gradually increase your walk time to a half hour, if possible. Stand up while talking on the telephone. Put away your television remote and do your own channel-changing. Do your own cleaning chores rather than hiring someone to do them. Extend housekeeping into your garden by weeding or mowing the lawn.

At work, park your car in the far corner of the parking lot so you walk a little more; walk to a colleague's office to talk instead of calling; take the stairs instead of the elevator, and book yourself into hotels with fitness centers when you travel.

As you get stronger, you can embark on a more ambitious exercise program so you can enjoy spring to the fullest and stay healthy.

More information

The University of Cincinnati offers helpful guidelines for exercise.

SOURCE: American Heart Association
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