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A regular exercise routine is an important component of heart health, yet less than one-third of Americans get the minimum 30 minutes of daily exercise five days a week, as recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA). Nationally, as many as 250,000 deaths annually are attributable to a lack of regular physical activity.

While exercise is important for everyone, regular aerobic activity can be critical to ensuring healthier outcomes for cardiovascular patients. Even a little exercise goes a long way.

“Just 5-10 minutes of daily running, even at very slow speeds, can significantly lower the risk of mortality among cardiovascular patients,” says Ed Dannemiller, a specialist pharmacist in the Express Scripts Cardiovascular Therapeutic Resource Center. “Simply getting the recommended minimum amount of exercise can help reduce cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke by 30-40 percent.”

Regular exercise has many other benefits for your heart as well, including strengthening the heart muscle, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, gaining better control of one’s blood sugar and maintaining bone strength. Exercise can also help heart patients lose weight and lead more active lives without chest pain.

If you are considering starting an exercise regime, keep these precautions in mind to minimize your risks and prevent an adverse reaction.

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