Your heartHealthy livingFor professionalsResearchHow you can helpAbout us
An older man and a young boy joyfully playing in the ocean, creating lasting memories together.

Benefits of physical activity for your heart

Healthy living


Physical activity


Benefits of physical activity for your heart

Physical activity and exercise can do wonders for your physical and mental health.

Key takeaways
  • Physical activity and exercise lowers your risk of developing heart disease including heart attack, high blood pressure and heart failure.
  • Making physical activity a daily habit greatly improves your overall physical and mental health.
  • No matter how much or little physical activity you do, it’s never too late to start.
  • Moderate intensity activities such as brisk walking and swimming help your body feel energised and work at its best.  

Moving your body more can reduce your risk of a heart attack, high blood pressure and some cancers.

Living a more active life, especially if you can do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week, can significantly improve your heart health.  It can also ease anxiety and depression, and help you feel better about yourself.

When physical activity becomes part of your daily routine, it can benefit you for the rest of your life.

Let’s take a closer look at why moving more and doing it regularly is great for your heart, body and mind.

Regular and adequate levels of physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-lasting effects including:

  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve blood circulation
  • Strengthen bones, muscles and joints, which can improve strength and overall fitness
  • Help manage weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose
  • Encourage a positive self-image and mindset. 

It can improve your sense of well-being  

Physical activity can be great for your physical and mental well-being. It can:

  • Make you feel more confident, happy and relaxed
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Prevent and help manage depression and anxiety, especially when exercising in nature, such as parks, gardens or at the beach
  • Help you sleep better
  • Lower your risk of dementia later in life.  

It can be a fun way to socialise with friends, family or neighbours 

 Physical activity can be great for socialising with other people. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Go for a walk by yourself, or with a friend, family member or neighbour or join a Heart Foundation Walking group
  • Join a gym or exercise class with a friend or family member
  • Become part of a sport or recreation club community and make new friends as you get active
  • Swap out a restaurant meal with your friends or family with a picnic in the park – and take a frisbee, football, or cricket set with you
  • Go on an outing to the zoo
  • Take a hike in a forest
  • Swim at the beach.  

If you have a heart condition, high blood pressure or other elevated risk factors, talk with your doctor, nurse or another health professional for advice before starting any physical activity or exercise program.

Make your move to get more active today.

Join a Heart Foundation Walking group or download a Personal Walking Plan today.

You might also be interested in...

A family of four jogging together in a park, enjoying a healthy and active lifestyle amidst greenery and fresh air.
Get your family moving

Get your kids active and set them up for healthier habits into adulthood.

An older couple engaging in stretching exercises in a room, promoting physical fitness and flexibility.
Types of physical activity

Nine out of 10 Australians could reduce the risk of heart disease by walking as little as 15 minutes more each day.

Last updated12 March 2024