Getting plenty of exercise is crucial for good heart health. According to the American Heart Association, adults should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 of vigorous activity per week. Spreading your activity out through the week is the best option, so working these heart-healthy exercises into your routine several times a week.
1. Interval Training
Interval training might be the best type of exercise for heart health, weight loss, and diabetes prevention. It improves overall fitness by combining short bursts of high-intensity exercises with longer periods of active recovery. Active recovery is a time when you are doing a lower-intensity activity but are still moving. A good example of interval training is walking at an easy speed for five minutes and then speeding up to a brisk pace for one to two minutes. Your heart rate will alternatively raise and lower, which improves vascular function, helps the body clear sugar and fat, and burns calories.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to ease into a heart-healthy exercise routine. Walking is an aerobic exercise, also known as cardiovascular exercise. As you can tell by that name, it’s good for your heart and vascular system. To get the most out of walking, make sure you walk at a brisk pace for around 30 minutes at a time. If you’re just starting a workout regimen, you can work on increasing your time and distance to build endurance.
To kick up the intensity level, try working up to jogging or running. Just be aware that these are high-impact activities that could be tough on joints. Luckily, there are low-impact exercises that have benefits similar to those of walking, jogging, or running.
Swimming is a favorite heart-healthy exercise for people who need to stick to low-impact movements. There’s nothing more low-impact than being suspended in water. Swimming is a cardiovascular exercise but it also engages a lot of different muscle groups in the body. It will strengthen your legs, shoulders, and arms. Plus it gets your heart rate up.
4. Strength Training
Building muscles is just as important as getting cardio. Having overall muscle strengths enables you to perform all over activities. And muscles are better at burning calories than fat, making it must for workouts if you’re trying to manage your weight for your heart health. Weight training can also be seen as a form of interval training that raises your heart rate while you’re doing reps and lowers your heart rate while you’re resting.
If you’re looking for an exercise that has the same benefits of running and jogging without the jarring impact on your joints, cycling might be the way to go. Your legs and your blood will be pumping. If you can’t get out to explore trails or ride outside somewhere safe, then try a stationary bike. There are group classes offered at many gyms, or just set a course to complete on your own.
Rowing is an exercise that increases your heart rate and engages many different muscle groups in your body. That makes it a heart-healthy exercise that is a total body workout. You probably don’t have access to a boat and body of water, so we’re thinking more along the lines of doing a session on the rowing machine rather than picking up a set of oars.
Yoga is an excellent choice for improving your flexibility. It also encourages a calm and focused mind. These things can help reduce blood pressure, which makes it heart-healthy as well as centering. Flexibility is a quality that you need to perform all kinds of physical activities that are good for your heart health. Whether you take an entire yoga class or just incorporate some stretches into the warm-up and cool-down of another workout, staying flexible is always a good idea.
Core workouts like pilates are great for heart health because they build the muscles responsible for supporting you during all types of movement. Your core muscles are the foundation of fitness because you rely on them for so many different motions and activities. Pilates also improves flexibility, strength ad balance.
If you’re looking for a way to get a workout while tapping into your inner rhythm and creativity, try dancing. There are dance classes for all genres aimed at adults. You can participate in a group class at the gym or community center if possib.e If not, there are tons of videos available online that you can follow along to. Learning choreography will get your blood pumping while your toes are tapping.
If you have a condition like high blood pressure or heart disease exercise probably isn’t enough on its own. You’ll need to consult a cardiovascular specialist. Dr. Farhan Majeed of Pulse: The Heart, Valve and Vascular Institute is an expert in providing comprehensive care for people with cardiac, vascular, and structural heart diseases. Call Pulse HVVI at (941) 629-2111 to schedule an appointment at our Port Charlotte, FL office.