According to Jennifer Mieres, M.D., American Heart Association (AHA), “to get heart-healthy benefits, you need to get your heart rate up.” Whether it is a structured exercise program or just part of your daily routine, all physical activity adds up to a healthier heart.

Our desert, especially this time of year, provides a large variety of exercise opportunities just steps away from where we live, work, and play. Cities, school districts, businesses, and communities across the Coachella Valley are partnering to support and encourage physical activity at every age.

Highlighted below are 3 new exciting exercise opportunities and programs right here in the Desert for you and your family to enjoy.

One of the simplest types of physical activity — walking — is also one of the most beneficial. Just 30 minutes of brisk walking, at least five days a week, can lower your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The Desert Healthcare District’s 5 acre Wellness Park, diagonal to Desert Regional Medical Center, offers a ¼ mile walking/jogging trail loop as well as other amenities. Designed for use by those who have health limitations as well as those who are well and want to stay that way, there are various exercise stations with level pathways, allowing those using wheelchairs and walkers to benefit from outdoor activity. Tranquility and meditation gardens offer peaceful rest stops, and low-level lighting makes the Wellness Park safe for evening use.

Cardiovascular workout equipment is used to facilitate physical activity that the human body can utilize to promote good health, lose weight and even relieve stress. Achieving an aerobic effect through the use of a piece of cardiovascular workout equipment tends to be very efficient in that an individual can quickly increase their heart rate to their target, and thereafter, maintain that level for a minimum of 20 to 60 consecutive minutes. Doing so allows oxygen to flow freely throughout your body for the majority of your exercise routine.

The new Desert Hot Springs Community Health & Wellness Center (scheduled to open January 2013) will feature a cardio-fitness gym with treadmills, elliptical machines, recumbent step through bikes, upright bikes, upper body ergometer, and variable exercise machines. All of the equipment will have internet-connection capabilities, integrated exercise tracking technology for monitoring and recording exercise compliance, and heart rate monitoring utilizing telemetry.

Desert residents can also participate, for free, in the Coachella Valley Health Collaborative’s “Healthy Lifestyle Challenge”. An interactive website records an individual’s activity and converts it to steps on interactive maps. Individuals can see their progress and see how they match up against others participating in the various challenges. There is a variety of activities to choose from, including pre-designed programs, and the ability to create your own. People can challenge friends and colleagues by walking, running, swimming, hiking, biking and even shopping. It all counts towards the final goal. Challengers can also track their progress online, communicate with other challengers online and receive weekly motivating reminders and health tips. Please visit and register today!

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