How much exercise does your heart need? Most of us aren’t getting enough

From our jobs to our families to simply being too exhausted, Americans have a lot of excuses to explain why they can’t make more time to work out, a new survey shows.

Only 1/3 of us say we exercise for a healthy heart.

And many of us aren’t getting the recommended amount of exercise — 2.5 hours per week — the survey conducted by the Cleveland Clinic found. Part of the reason might be that very few, just one in five, know what the recommendations are.

Related: Exercise recommendations for healthier heart

One of the most concerning findings of the study:

  • 51 percent exercise to lose or maintain weight
  • Only 32 percent exercise for a healthy heart

That’s unfortunate, says Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman for the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. It shows, he says, that “a lot of people don’t appreciate how important exercise is for your heart.

One in four Americans dies from heart disease. Those deaths could be cut by 40 to 60 percent if people exercised more, Nissen says.

Related: Many Americans have hearts that are “older” than they are

A busy schedule is one of the biggest impediments to exercise:

  • 41 percent listed job obligations as preventing them from exercising more
  • 28 percent blame commitments to family and friends
  • Or we’re too tired

Keep in mind, exercise will make you feel more energetic overall, with studies finding that people who exercise feel less tired.“It clears your head and the more you do the more eager you are to do it,” says Nissen.

If you’re having a hard time getting started, set doable goals.

“We suggest people start slowly and work their way up,” Nissen says. “You can take a 10 to 15 minute walk every night. That’s easy. Then you can work up to 20 minutes and then 25. As you get into shape it gets easier to do. Ultimately it will be easier to do 30 minutes than it was in the beginning to do 10.”

New York-based Certified Exercise Physiologist Karissa Bollinger offers a simple, heart-healthy cardio routine for your week:

Monday

30 Minutes of Cardio Walking/Jogging

For your core:

1 minute plank

20 Straight Leg Bicycle Crunches

Side Plank (45 seconds each side)

Repeat 3x through

Tuesday

Upper Body Strength

5-10 minute cardio warm-up

Circuit (repeat circuit for 30 minutes)

  1. 45 seconds of Push-ups
  2. Dumbbell Bent row (8-12 reps)
  3. 20 Tricep Dips
  4. Dumbbell Shoulder Press (8-12 reps)

Wednesday

45 minutes of Inclined Walking

Thursday

Lower Body Strength

5-10 minute cardio warm-up

Circuit (repeat circuit for 30 minutes)

  1. 45 seconds of squat jumps
  2. Step-ups (12 reps each side)
  3. Walking Lunges (24 steps = 12 each side)
  4. 20 Body weight squats

Friday

30 minutes cardio Intervals on Stationary Bike

For the core:

45 seconds Russian Twist with Medicine Ball

15 Roll-Ups

20 repetitions of Superman

1 minute Plank

Repeat 3x through

Saturday

45 Minutes Cardio Elliptical/Cross Trainer

Sunday

REST

Can’t wait to try out this easy routine? Tell your friends on Pinterest about it. They might even want to join you for your daily workouts.

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