Couple walking for exercise

According to the National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus website, a sedentary, nonactive lifestyle is also known as sitting disease.

"Being sedentary is a proven risk factor in heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cancer," says Michael Wainwright, MS, manager of cardiovascular fitness at UM St. Joseph Medical Center (UM SJMC).

In addition, being inactive contributes to muscle atrophy. "Exercise helps with balance and being able to accomplish daily activities as we age," he says.

CV Fitness is Heart-Healthy

Wainwright and the other cardiovascular fitness specialists at UM SJMC see the proof every day in the CV Fitness program as patients recovering from heart conditions grow stronger and improve their health.

Cardiologists refer their patients to CV Fitness for congestive heart failure or after open-heart surgery, a heart attack or stent placement. "We get very positive feedback from our patients. The program, which features monitored, gradual exercise, really makes a difference in changing their lifestyles and meeting their health goals," Wainwright says.

Don't Be a Couch Potato

"The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that people should exercise three to five days a week for between 30 and 60 minutes of moderate intensity and try to increase your heart rate to 30 beats above a resting heart rate," Wainwright says. Using a tracker, smartwatch or hand-grips on an exercise machine can measure heart rate. There are many ways to be active and get exercise, whether it's walking, biking, swimming, using an elliptical machine, group exercise or even doing household activities like yard-work.

10 Ways to Work Exercise into Everyday Life

  1. Walk the dog.
  2. Take multiple breaks from sitting; use your break to go for a walk.
  3. Exercise with friends, family or groups.
  4. Do a short exercise routine such as HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
  5. Take the stairs.
  6. Schedule exercise on your calendar.
  7. Park farther away and walk around the store before shopping, or go mall walking.
  8. Make exercise fun, such as dancing or games with kids.
  9. Walk or bike to work.
  10. If you're visiting UM SJMC, use the walking paths in and around campus.