How to Exercise for a Healthy Heart
Fortunately, it doesn’t take hours in the gym to reap the heart-healthy benefits of exercise. As little as 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking, most days of the week can substantially reduce your risk of heart disease, enhance your mental well-being, and improve your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. While previous recommendations have focused mainly on cardio conditioning for heart health, new guidelines developed by the American College of Sports Medicine take into account higher levels of intensity and the benefits that strength training offers your heart, too.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: anything that makes you move your body and burn calories.
WALK (March in Place, Arm Circles, Fake Jump Rope)
The simplest, positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health is to start walking. It’s enjoyable, free, easy, social and great exercise. It’s easy for walking to become a regular part of life. Whether you rack up the miles on a treadmill or hit the road, brisk walking is a natural way to improve your fitness. Wear supportive, comfortable walking shoes, strap on your iPod and get moving. Though a leisure stroll is better than sitting on your couch, push yourself to walk at a fast pace to achieve a moderate intensity level.
RUN / SKIP / JOG (Run, Skip, and Jog in Place)
Though more challenging than walking, running is another heart-healthy physical activity. If you are a beginner to running, start out with a brisk walk and add 1 to 2 minutes of jogging/running for every 5 minutes of walking. As you get more fit, you can increase the minutes you run until you don’t need to walk in between.
INTERVAL / CIRCUIT TRAINING (Lunges, Band Curls, DB Squat Press, Plank)
Strength-training can be just as beneficial. It works your muscular and cardiovascular system, improving your endurance level, and increasing your good cholesterol levels. If doing a solid stint of aerobic exercise bores you tears, mix up your cardio. For example, combine several moves together combining one after another to really challenge your muscles, mind, AND heart! Use less weight but don’t go “light” and keep a fast pace. This type of training will keep you motivated to exercise and improve your muscular strength, endurance and heart health.
YOGA The calm it provides lowers blood pressure, de-stresses, adds core strength, and promotes heart health.
WORST: Any Vigorous Exercise you haven’t Trained For: This can range from kayaking to biking 20 miles on the first spring day. The excessive adrenaline that’s released can prompt a heart attack in those at risk. For the same reason, never exercise hard without warming up. ESPECIALLY on a cold day like today J
CONCLUSION: Something is always better than nothing!
And everyone has to start somewhere. Even if you’ve been sedentary for years, today is the day you can begin to make healthy changes in your life. If you don’t think you’ll make it for 30 minutes, set a reachable goal for today and increasing your time as you get stronger. No matter how much you work out now, you can improve your heart health with a combination of cardio and strength exercises. The important thing is to just get moving!