New research reveals insight about American heart health

Do you know much about heart health and how to keep it and our bodies strong.

Cleveland Clinic has conducted research involving 1,009 adults (487 men and 522 women) living in the continental United States with questions about their views and their heart-healthy habits.

Some interviewees were well-informed but  many others had an opportunity to improve their health and understanding. We want to share heart-healthy recommendations with you, based on the most common misunderstandings we found in this survey.

Following are the top seven mistakes to avoid to keep your heart healthy:

  1. Not knowing how much exercise your body needs

Most people work out at least 30 minutes a week, experts recommend moderate aerobic exercise for at least 2.5 hours each week.

  1. Letting life get in the way of regular exercise

It is common that we get busy or tired and we don’t exercise like we should. But if you can stay strong and stick to your routine, your heart and body will thank you.

  1. Not having a plan to meet weight loss goals

We need to remember that we need to burn or cut out 500 calories from the our diet to lose one pound a week. Only 31 percent of people who took the questionnaire knew this.

  1. Not taking advantage of cardiac rehab if you have heart disease

Cardiac rehabilitation has amazing benefits. It can reduce mortality rates from heart disease. Some experts estimate that only 13.9 percent of patients that are eligible for cardiac rehab actually utilize it. However, it can be beneficial after a heart attack, heart surgery, chronic angina, congestive heart failure, and stenting.

  1. Not exercising enough if you have heart disease

How much exercise do you need if you have heart disease? The answer: 2.5 hours each week — the same amount as any other healthy adult. Only one-third (34 percent) of Americans are aware of this. More people (45 percent) think people with heart disease need to exercise more than people without.

  1. Not being aware of how health technology can help achieve fitness goals

If you monitor your heart rate while you exercise or use fitness apps to track your daily activity it can help you gauge your effort and push yourself appropriately. Only half (49 percent) of Americans who exercise weekly have monitored their heart rate during exercise, while 11 percent of people regularly track their daily activity pattern on a phone or tablet fitness app.

  1. Waiting for an exercise stress test if you have high cholesterol

Doctors usually do not recommend a stress test for people who do not have heart-related symptoms or high cholesterol. The majority of Americans (81 percent) incorrectly believe that a stress test is necessary. Only 15 percent are aware that it is not necessary.