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American Heart Association Recommendations To Doctors

Update Date: Oct 14, 2013 09:09 PM EDT

Living a sedentary life could cause various cardiovascular health problems. The American Heart Association recommends that healthcare providers assess physical activity in individuals who come in for a regular check-up according to a scientific statement.

"Most healthcare providers have not routinely assessed physical activity levels among their patients because they have not had the right tools," said Scott Strath, Ph.D., lead author of the statement and associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's College of Health Sciences in a news release. "Yet, physical inactivity is about as bad for you as smoking." 

The method of evaluating the true levels of exercise within a person's life may be a good start to a healthy evolution in the United States.
According to the study, the importance of the check-up is crucial because checking physical activity is just as big a deal as checking ones blood pressure and determining risks for cardiovascular diseases. 

"The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week or more, or at least 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week or more. You should also do moderate- to high-intensity muscle strengthening at least two days a week," said the AHA. 

The AHA encourages that providers introduce this amount of exercise to patients as it is associated with living a healthier cardiovascular disease-free life.

Frequency, duration and the intensity of exercise in the workplace, at home or as a hobby should be elements covered in the physical activity check-up, according to the statement.

"The new statement includes a "decision matrix" to help providers select the most appropriate evaluation method for their patients, including low-cost or no-cost options, such as questionnaires that patients complete when they arrive for their appointment," said the AHA. 

The scientific statement is published in the journal Circulation.

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