Walking is easy, and very effective. In a study done by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that walking for half an hour a day cut the overall risk of heart disease by 18 percent. In a study of the benefits of walking for people with diabetes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that just two hours of walking per week can reduce the fatal risks of heart disease by 34 percent.
Running can be even more effective than walking if it can be performed comfortably, and is not injurious. In the Harvard study, people who ran at least one hour per week cut their risks of heart disease by 42 percent. High intensity aerobic exercise, such as running, has been associated with improvements in a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors, including physical fitness, increased HDL (the good cholesterol), decreased blood pressure and decreased inflammation, says Frank Hu, M.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Yoga may help reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, and by reducing stress and anxiety. In one study, researchers in India followed people with heart disease. At the end of one year, people who practiced a yoga-based lifestyle, including dietary changes and stress management, found an overall drop in their total cholesterol of 23 percent and a decreased LDL cholesterol of 26 percent, and an improvement of their heart disease overall between 43 and 70 percent.
Weight-training more than 30 minutes per week decreased heart disease risk by 23 percent in the Harvard study. Weight training can help lower high blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and help control blood sugar levels. By increasing lean muscle tissue and decreasing fat stores in the body, it will also help boost metabolism to help maintain a healthy weight. It is recommended that doing eight to 10 different kinds of weight-lifting exercises, for just one set of 8 to 10 repetitions of each exercise, and you will experience improvements in muscle strength and endurance similar to improvements experienced by those who do three sets of each exercise. The biggest increase in health benefits is achieved in the first set, and this entire exercise regimen can be completed in just 10 to 12 minutes.