Sport is good for you – especially for your heart. But how and what should we exercise? How sport affects our health and why even short, intensive training is effective. So you have more energy in focusing on Even small changes are enough to intensify the sport unit: For example, incorporate a short stair sprint into your jog.
Ride your bike to work, take an occasional walk – many people think that even a little exercise is enough to keep the body reasonably fit. But experts now recommend intensive training to keep the body healthy – even the heart benefits from it. And they go even further and advise using exercise for therapy.


First and foremost, exercise trains the heart muscle: In people who exercise regularly, more blood can be ejected per heartbeat. Such a heart can supply the body with oxygen-rich blood in fewer beats than in the untrained. This has the positive effect of lowering the resting pulse rate in athletic people.


The WHO guideline on exercise recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week for adults, or about 21 minutes per day. For children between the ages of 5 and 17, it should be 60 minutes a day. “When you feel your pulse, this is considered moderate; as soon as you start sweating, we talk about intense exercise. The WHO recommendations are based on data from large, epidemiological studies that examine how the amount and intensity of physical activity are related to mortality and disease risk – especially for cardiovascular disease.

Little has changed in the guidelines over the past decade. Relatively new, however, is the advice to avoid inactivity and sitting. The focus is still on endurance training, but in addition, another form of training is very much emphasized. What is new is that experts have recently included the recommendation for strength training of all important muscle groups. This is also positive from the point of view of heart medicine. In the past, only endurance sports were recommended for the prevention of heart disease and in rehabilitation. In the meantime, however, we additionally recommend moderate strength and interval training; in this way, you can increase muscle mass and thus release more health-promoting messenger substances.

This may be why even very short, intensive exercise intervals are enough: An Australian study recently showed that just 15 to 20 minutes of intensive exercise per week lead to a 16 to 40 percent reduction in the risk of mortality. According to the study, two minutes of physical exertion twice a day is already enough to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and 50 to 57 minutes of exertion reduces it even further. It takes a certain intensity of muscle activation for myokines to be released. Intensive sport also ensures that heart-damaging metabolites disappear from the blood in greater numbers, he adds. Muscles secrete interleukin 6. A cytokine that, among other things, causes muscles to suck glucose out of the blood for energy.


  • Instead of just walking, try walking briskly (starting at about eight kilometers per hour) or take a mountain hike. Increase your pace while biking to about 16 kilometers per hour or take a tour on a mountain bike in challenging terrain.
  • Incorporate push-ups or squats if you do aerobics or gymnastics.
  • Instead of just shooting some hoops alone or kicking around a bit in the park, play basketball or soccer in teams to win a match.
  • Ski in challenging terrain instead of just wobbling down the mountain in a relaxed manner.
  • Instead of just swimming a set number of lanes, try swimming them for time and steadily improve.
  • Try boxing against a partner in the ring instead of just punching a bag.