Exercise: Before Starting an Exercise Program It is always important to talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program, particularly if you have certain health conditions. Designing an Exercise Program To improve your heart and lung fitness, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times a week. Stay Fit When You Have a Health Challenge Working out when you have a serious illness or health problem can be challenging. But for most people who have health issues, exercising can improve their prognosis and well-being. In fact, exercise can play an important role in helping you cope with or recover from a health challenge or accident. Exercise and Target Heart Rate The key to cardiovascular fitness is getting a good but safe aerobic workout. Heart rate monitors, which monitor your heart rate while you exercise, can help you do that with ease. Risks of Physical Inactivity Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Have a Hearty Workout for Your Heart Unlike other muscles, your heart muscle does not tire from use. Your heart is like other muscles, however, in that it needs exercise to work efficiently. What kind of exercise would that be? All it takes is a brisk 30-minute walk most days of the week. Strength Training and Heart Disease If you think that you can’t begin a strength-training program because you have heart disease, think again.