Harvard Heart Letter

Walk often, walk far

That's the latest advice for getting your heart back in shape.

Signing up for, and sticking with, a cardiac rehabilitation program is one of the best things you can do for an ailing heart. These structured programs include exercise; psychological and social support; and efforts to reduce risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a less-than-healthy diet. A good program can strengthen your heart and lungs, improve circulation, cut your chances of having another heart attack or stroke, and generally get you back to normal — or better. It may even add a few years to your life.

Key points

  • Cardiac rehabilitation is one of the best things you can do for an ailing heart.

  • If you are overweight and have heart disease, walking for at least 45 minutes a day may do you more good than fewer, shorter bouts of more vigorous activity.

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