Skip to content

    Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Heart-Healthy Diet and Exercise

    Exercise for a Healthy Heart

    If you have heart disease, becoming more active is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It helps with your blood pressure and weight, and it makes your heart stronger.

    Getting even as little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days helps. You can do anything that makes your heart beat a little faster, whether it's walking, water aerobics, washing your car, or something else.

    Before you start, check with your doctor to see if there are activities that aren't appropriate for you. Then choose activities that you enjoy and that you can work into your day.

    You don't have to do the same thing every day. You might find it easier to stay motivated if you involve friends or family members in your activities.

    What About Alcohol?

    Is alcohol good or bad for you? That depends. Here's the bad side of alcohol use: Drinking too much alcohol can make heart disease worse. Alcohol can:

    • Raise your blood pressure
    • Increase your chances of stroke
    • Increase your risk of dying if you have a heart attack
    • Damage your heart muscle and lead to heart failure

    On the other hand, moderate use of alcohol may have these two benefits:

    "Moderate" drinking means the following:

    • No more than two drinks per day for men
    • No more than one drink per day for women

    If you don't drink now, health experts usually don't recommend that you start. Check with your doctor for advice that's specific to you. For some people, the potential problems from drinking may outweigh the possible advantages of moderate alcohol use.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on November 21, 2015
    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    blood pressure
    Symptoms, causes, and more.
    headache
    Learn the causes.
     
    Compressed heart
    5 habits to change.
    Mature man floating in pool, goggles on head
    Exercises that help.
     
    heart healthy living
    ARTICLE
    Erectile Dysfunction Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Bernstein Hypertension Affects Cardiac Risk
    VIDEO
    Compressed heart
    Article
     
    Heart Disease Overview Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    thumbnail for lowering choloesterol slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    Heart Foods Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Low Blood Pressure
    VIDEO
     

    WebMD Special Sections