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. 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. Exercise Your Way to a Healthy Heart Physical inactivity is just as big a risk factor for heart disease as high blood pressure and smoking are. So, be the exception rather than the rule. Here are eight ways to exercise for a healthier heart. Move to the Music: Dancing as Exercise The benefits of dancing go well beyond heart health and physical fitness. Dancing, especially group dance activities, provides opportunities for people of all ages to be socially and mentally engaged, as well.