The pandemic has led to lots of missed days at the gym, which may have you seeing extra inches around your waist. If that’s the case, you may start to worry about long-term effects on your health. February is American Heart Month, making it the perfect time to check in on your cardiovascular health and start taking more steps to care of your ticker. For one quick way to measure your heart health, head to the nearest stairwell.

The Stairs Test: A Quick Indicator of Your Heart Health

The Stairs Test is simple and requires only a stairwell and a stopwatch. Ideally, you should be able to climb 4 flights of stairs (about 60 stairs) in 90 seconds or less. If it takes you longer, you may have an increased risk of heart disease. However, if you’re worried about your heart health, hitting the stairs on your own may not be ideal, so check in with your doctor first.

Heart Health and Exercise Go Hand in Hand

In general, physical fitness is a good indicator of heart health because your heart is a muscle, and like any other muscle, it needs plenty of exercise. So, if you find yourself struggling with everyday physical tasks like carrying groceries into the house, walking briskly around the block, or jogging a short distance, you’ll want to find ways to ease more activity into your routine. The more regular exercise you get, the better shape your heart will be in—and remember that stairwell? You might even consider skipping the elevator and taking those stairs more often to build your stamina!

Before adopting any new fitness routine, it’s always wise to check in with a physician for personalized guidance. MeMD can connect you to a doctor anytime, anywhere, so you can start improving your heart health without even leaving home.

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