Basic principles of physical activity
Physical activity can be a lifesaver – literally. Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that you accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Moderate intensity activities include brisk walking or bike riding. Vigorous intensity may mean jogging or cross-country skiing. To derive the most benefit, spread your activity out over several days of the week. By doing so, you can dramatically lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
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Benefits may begin within the first week of regular activity. For example, your blood pressure may start to come down, and you could start to feel more energetic and relaxed. After three months, you may experience better health, improved posture and balance, stronger muscles and bones, more confidence and a more positive outlook on life.
Before starting a physical activity program, it's best to speak to your healthcare provider first to discuss what is right for you.
If you have a heart problem, you may want to check out our HeartWalk Workout. This is a special exercise program developed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation to help people with heart disease problems get regular healthy exercise.
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Last reviewed: March 2011.