5 Best Exercises to Improve Heart Health
The benefits of starting an exercise program appear to be greatest in the most sedentary individuals. The largest reduction in coronary risk occurs when an inactive individual adopts a modest fitness lifestyle. Greater levels of regular physical activity result in additional benefits, but the best response occurs when low levels of exercise are initiated by sedentary individuals.
How much exercise do you need for heart health?
Experts recommend doing some form of moderate aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. You can spread the minutes out in any manner that works for your schedule. For example, you can take a 22-minute walk each day (moderate) or run 15 minutes five times per week (vigorous). The key is scheduling some form of moderate to vigorous cardiovascular activity into your weekly schedule and actually doing it.
Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is any form of activity that increases your respiratory and heart rate, essentially challenging your heart to work harder and become stronger. Cardiovascular fitness will improve the way your body uses oxygen. As your heart becomes stronger, you will find that you aren’t winded walking up the stairs, you can perform physical activity longer, and your resting heart rate will be lower, meaning your heart is more efficient at pumping blood through your body. Though any aerobic exercise is good for your heart, these five physical activities are top-notch for heart health.
The human body was born to walk. 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.
Though more challenging than walking, running is another heart-healthy physical activity that the human body is ready-made to do (barring physical limitations or injuries). In addition, it is one of the best ways to burn calories (a 150-pound person can burn 100 calories per mile), a bonus if you are also trying to lose weight to reduce your risk of heart disease. If you are a beginner to running, start out with a brisk walk and add 1 to 2 minutes of running 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.
Opting stairs is one of the best exercise in our day-to-day routine lifestyle. Stair climbing improves the cardiovascular fitness. It is classified as a ‘vigorous’ form of exercise which actually burns more calories than jogging per every minute.
Taking stairs helps in protecting against the high bloss pressure, gaining weight and blocking arteries by raising the heart rate. This also helps in lowering the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease etc. Climbing stairs also improves the bone and muscle strength. More over it does not require any special skills or training. It’s extremely time efficient.
Another cardiovascular activity that is easy on the joints, cycling is a low-impact exercise that you can do solo in the gym, in a spin class, or outside on the road or trails. Make efficient use of your cycling time and bike to work or to do your errands. Even better, join a cycling club and enjoy the camraderie. While your heart is pumping you’ll also be building strength and toning your lower body as well as your core muscles, if you take your bike off-road.
The pool may be a great place to float lazily along, but that water can also be a full body fitness challenge. Swimming laps or even participating in water fitness classes will not only raise your heart rate and improve your heart health, the water provides multi-directional resistance that will improve your muscular strength and tone. Swimming is a safe alternative if you have joint problems that walking or running can aggravate.
Before you start a new exercise plan, talk to your doctor to make sure the physical activities you want to do are appropriate for your age, health and fitness condition.