Aerobic exercise can lower blood pressure, help control weight, and increase HDL ("good") cholesterol. It may keep the blood vessels more flexible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend moderate to intense aerobic exercise lasting about 30 minutes four or more times per week for maximum heart health. Three 10-minute exercise periods also are beneficial. Aerobic exercise—activities such as walking, jogging, and cycling—uses the large muscle groups and forces the body to use oxygen more efficiently. It also can include everyday activities such as active gardening, climbing stairs, or brisk housework. People with coronary artery disease or risk factors should consult a doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Maintaining a desirable body weight
About one-fourth of all Americans are overweight and nearly one-tenth are obese, according to the Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition on and Health. People