Your heart does a lot for you. Pay it back by embracing daily habits that do more than protect your heart — they enrich your whole life.
Talk about a powerful motivator to revisit some of your daily routines.
The really good news: Our Healthy Heart Challenge can help you get started.
Join us for the next seven days as we present:
- New heart-pumping, follow-along workouts with SilverSneakers LIVE instructor Shannon Thigpen
- Strategies to unwind and keep stress in check
- Heart-smart meal and snack ideas
- Expert insights from top cardiologists
- Plus, recommendations for SilverSneakers LIVE and in-person classes to keep the momentum going
No matter your age or your family medical history, there’s lots you can do to keep your heart beating stronger and longer.
Boost your heart health with SilverSneakers! Classes and events are happening daily at participating gyms, online through SilverSneakers LIVE, and at community centers near you. Activate your free online account to get started.
As always, safety is key. The exercises in the Healthy Heart Challenge may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. Always get your doctor’s OK before beginning a new exercise program. If you have a chronic condition (including osteoporosis), balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.
How Exercise Helps Your Heart
Heart disease is serious. It’s the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Luckily, there are many strategies that can boost heart health, especially as you get older. According to the CDC, these include tactics like eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, getting quality sleep on a consistent basis, managing your blood pressure, staying on top of annual checkups, and keeping stress levels in check.
One of the most important strategies that belongs on that list is exercise. Regular physical activity helps:
- Strengthen your heart muscle
- Lower your risk of coronary heart disease
- Shuttle oxygen throughout your body (more oxygen means more energy to do the things you enjoy most)
That’s why the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says it’s important to get your blood pumping and raise your heart rate every day.
Current physical activity guidelines call for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week (about 30 minutes a day) — which brings us to our first challenge activity:
Today’s Challenge: Try the Talk Test
Let’s jump right in with your first challenge — figuring out when your exercise efforts are just right.
“Daily, moderate-intensity exercise has been shown to be one of the best ways to protect your heart,” says Thigpen.
But what’s moderate intensity? To give you an idea of what that means, she encourages you to press play on the video above and try the talk test with her.
“It’s good to be familiar with the talk test, since it’s the easiest way to check in with your body to know if you’re putting in the right amount of effort to see those heart health benefits from your walks or other workouts,” Thigpen says.
Here’s how it works:
- Start with a 3- to 5-mimute warmup to get your muscles and mind ready to move
- Begin to march in place
- Talk to your screen as if you’re having a conversation with a friend — it should be easy to get your words out
- Gradually pick up your pace
- As you get faster, your breathing will naturally become heavier — but you should still be able to talk
“That’s what it means to be working out at moderate intensity — moving fast, but still talking,” Thigpen says. “If you’re ever working out and have a hard time talking — you’re going too hard.”
Now that you know what moderate intensity looks like, try it for yourself today during a SilverSneakers class, at the gym, or even during a walk.
“Set a goal of doing some type of moderate-intensity exercise for 10 to 15 minutes every day,” she adds, “and you’ll be on track to having a heart-healthy habit that offers meaningful benefits for your well-being.”
Your 7-Day Healthy Heart Challenge Plan
Day 2: 10-Minute Low-Impact HIIT Workout
Day 3: A Day on the DASH Diet
Day 4: Total-Body Cardio and Strength Workout
Day 5: 8 Things Cardiologists Wish Every Older Adult Knew to Prevent Heart Attacks
Day 6: Low-Impact Burpee Variations to Blast Belly Fat
Day 7: 5 Ways to Recharge and Beat Stress
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