You don't have to slog it out at the gym for hours on end to boost your heart health –– just 10 minutes' walking a day will cut your risk of heart disease by half, according to a leading US cardiologist.
Dr Martha Grogan, from the Mayo Clinic, a global nonprofit medical clinic, said that light exercise can make a huge difference to people with sedentary lifestyles.
"When I tell people that almost 80 percent of heart disease is preventable, they are surprised," she wrote in the journal Healthy Heart for Life.
"Better yet, there are daily things we all can do that can make a big difference in our effort to keep our hearts healthy."
While more movement is better, Dr Grogan wrote on the Mayo Clinic website that just an hour a week will make a big difference.
"Sure government recommendations say 30 minutes or more, but the bottom line is even 10 minutes makes a difference," she said.
Dr Grogan said a sedentary lifestyle is as dangerous for our health as smoking.
"Moving even 10 minutes a day for someone who's been sedentary may reduce the risk for heart disease by 50 percent," she said.
Dr Lyn Roberts, the national CEO of the Heart Foundation, told ninemsn that Australians should aim for 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
"You don't have to do 30 minutes at once –– if you walk 10 minutes from the train station to work, go for a 10-minute walk at lunch and then walk back to the station after work, you've clocked 30 minutes without it impacting on your day," she said.
"Any increase in exercise is a good thing. Ten minutes a day is a good starting point, then we recommend slowly increasing to 30 minutes movement a day, if not more."
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