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Heart Healthy Advice - By Katie Westrate, Naturopathic Doctor

It’s now fairly common knowledge that maintaining a physically active lifestyle is a great way to keep your heart healthy! Numerous studies have shown that active people have lower rates of coronary heart disease and/or cardiovascular disease than those who are inactive (1-3).  Being active doesn’t mean you have to run for miles a day.  If you find yourself pressed for time as it is, find small ways to include activity in your daily routine, even 20 minutes of active physical movement a day can yield fantastic benefits!

Ways to increase your physical activity:

* Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator in your apartment, at the shopping mall or in the subway station. Start with one flight, and soon you’ll never take an escalator again!

* Park your car at the far end of the parking lot. Even short brisk walks to and from your car will get your heart rate pumping.

* If you ride a bus or subway, get off a stop before your destination. Walk the rest of the way. Even better – if possible, walk or bike and skip the transit altogether!

* If you can, spend a part of your lunch break taking a stroll around the block or through the park. A walk will help to moderate stress levels and will increase afternoon energy.

* Think of house and yard work as an extra chance to exercise. Shovelling snow, raking leaves, vacuuming and/or scrubbing the floor can be a real workout!

* Make getting outside and moving part of your quality time with your family or pet – take your dog for a walk, go cross country skiing or tobogganing with your family. An after dinner walk can be a great way to connect and learn about each other’s day while on the move!


1.Physical Activity Guidelines Committee. Physical Activity GuidelinesAdvisory Committee Report. Washington, DC: Dept of Health and Human Services; 2008.

2.Sofi F, Capalbo A, Cesari F, Abbate R, Gensini GF. Physical activity during leisure time and primary prevention of coronary heart disease: an updated meta-analysis of cohort studies. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2008;15:247–257.

3.Nocon M, Hiemann T, Mu¨ller-Riemenschneider F, Thalau F, Roll S, Willich SN. Association of physical activity with all-cause and  ardiovascular mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2008;15:239 –246.

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