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Healtheuniversity > English > Cardiac College > Treat Heart Disease > Risk Factors > Physical Inactivity & Sedentary Lifestyle

Physical Inactivity & Sedentary Lifestyle

What Is Physical Inactivity?

You are physically inactive if you do not get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. There is a difference between physical activity and exercise:

  • Physical activity can be spontaneous or un-planned. For example, walking to the bus stop, gardening, dancing, brisk walking, cycling, etc.
  • Exercise is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposeful. For example, walking 3 miles in 51 minutes on a measured route or treadmill, 5 times per week.

You can reduce your risk of heart disease by carefully planning your exercise routine.

Desirable activity level

  • Daily: Sit less and move more during the day.
  • Aerobic Exercise: Moderate to vigorous intensity, 30-60 minutes, 5 times per week.
  • Resistance Training: Moderate intensity, 10-15 reps, 2-3 times per week.

Why Are Physical Inactivity and a Sedentary Lifestyle Risk Factors?

Physical inactivity can contribute to:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • plaque formation in the blood vessels, which can decrease blood flow

All of these conditions can lead to heart disease.

Sitting too much is a health risk. Physical inactivity on its own is as much of a risk for heart disease as smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Being physically active and participating in structured exercise can control these conditions, and improve the health of your blood vessels.

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