I am
Show me:
Show me:
Benefits of physical activity for your heart
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

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. 
  • Being active is a great way to get more social, and connect with others  
  • People who are the least active stand to gain the most by getting more active 
  • Moderate intensity activities such as brisk walking, swimming helps 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

WHAT NEXT?

7 tips for staying healthy over winter

7 tips for staying healthy over winter

7 tips for staying healthy over winter

Tips for healthy eating and recipe ideas over winter and how to exercise when it's cold outside. ...

Physical activity action plan

Physical activity action plan

Get your family moving

Get your family moving

Get your family moving

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

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab is proven to keep you out of hospital and reduce your risk of death from heart conditions....

Healthy Active by Design

Healthy Active by Design

Healthy Active by Design

Improving the design of our cities, towns, streets and buildings makes it easier for Australians to lead heart-healthy lives....

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

Exercises to do at home

All you need to know about keeping active during COVID-19....

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Discover what you need to know about being active after a heart attack....

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart teaches school children how to keep fit and healthy through skipping!...

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Learn more about Heart Foundation Walking and find your local walking group....

Surprising ways your family can meet the challenge to keep active

Surprising ways your family can meet the challenge to keep active

Surprising ways your family can meet the challenge to keep active

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and your heart health

Physical activity and exercise can benefit your heart, body and mind....

This Father’s Day share the ways you protect your heart

This Father’s Day share the ways you protect your heart

This Father’s Day share the ways you protect your heart

Have you thought about what you are getting for your children this Father’s Day?...

Get started with more physical activity

Get started with more physical activity

Get started with more physical activity

Finding time for physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your heart...

Walk away from heart disease

Walk away from heart disease

Walk away from heart disease

Sit less, move more

Sit less, move more

Sit less, move more

You may be surprised to know that on average, adults sit for nine hours a day....

Staying active for better heart health

Staying active for better heart health

Staying active for better heart health

Moving more every day is one of the best habits you can have....

Types of physical activity

Types of physical activity

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....

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Join the Cook with Heart Challenge as seen on Channel 7...

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Our range of clinical and patient support resources are available for you to use in your daily practice....

Understanding your heart age

Understanding your heart age

Understanding your heart age

Try our Heart Age Calculator to understand what contributes to your risk of heart disease...

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

If you have heart disease, you are more vulnerable to severe complications....

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

The Heart Foundation Research Program

We are Australia’s biggest non-government funder of world-class research into heart health. Learn more about our high impact research. ...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join the Heart Foundation community. Together, we can make a real difference for Australian hearts. ...

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

My Heart, My Life - Managing your heart health

This booklet is for those diagnosed with heart disease and their support people....

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

Kim shares the emotional and physical upheaval experienced on her journey to diagnosis and recovery....

When The Heart Gets Heavy: Emotional Wellbeing and Heart Conditions

When The Heart Gets Heavy: Emotional Wellbeing and Heart Conditions

Emotional wellbeing is like having a garden, sometimes it grows green on its own, other times it needs watering, cutting back or fertilising....

Healthy Active by Design

Healthy Active by Design

Healthy Active by Design

Improving the design of our cities, towns, streets and buildings makes it easier for Australians to lead heart-healthy lives....

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Resources to help support your council region to be healthy, connected and safe....

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Resources for health professionals interested in physical activity....

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Healthy Food Access Tasmania

Healthy Food Access Tasmania

Healthy Food Access Tasmania

We've been working on several projects with local governments across Tasmania, big and small....

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease....

Workplace giving for employees

Workplace giving for employees

Workplace giving for employees

The Heart Foundation’s workplace giving program makes it easy to setup regular, tax-deductible donations from your pre-tax income. ...

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

The Heart Foundation Alumni Program

Stay connected with your research alumni community. ...

Our supporters 

Our supporters 

Our supporters 

Working together to save Australian hearts...

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

COVID-19 info & FAQs

COVID-19 info & FAQs

COVID-19 info & FAQs

Information and FAQs about COVID-19 and heart disease....

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Search our heart healthy dinner recipes for tonights main meal...

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the broad term for conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart muscle. ...

Cardiac rehabilitation information for health professionals

Cardiac rehabilitation information for health professionals

Useful cardiac rehabilitation resources for health professionals....

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

Find out what a healthy body weight is and the steps you can take to achieve it. ...

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Ian “did not hesitate” to leave 100% of his estate to the Heart Foundation....

Heart failure clinical resources

Heart failure clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Eating healthy foods can help you recover and reduce your risk of more heart problems. ...

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network is the Heart Foundation’s newsletter for health professionals delivered to your inbox once a month....