The Best Exercises for Heart Health! When considering the benefits of exercising,
losing weight and “getting ripped” might be the first things to come to mind. But there’s a benefit that is way more crucial:
keeping a healthy heart. Your heart is the most important muscle in
your body, so it deserves some attention too, right? Let’s take a look at some of the best exercises
to keep your heart strong and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Aerobics. Aerobic exercises, also known as cardio, are
designed to raise your heart rate and make you break a sweat. Aerobics help to improve your circulation
and lower your blood pressure. If you have diabetes, they can also help you
control your blood sugar level. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) Trusted Source recommends that every adult should get at least two hours and 30
minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week, at intervals of 10 minutes or more. Some examples of moderate-intensity aerobics
are: going for a brisk walk,
biking on flat terrain, taking a leisurely swim,
gardening, dancing. If you’re big on working out but short on
time, you can meet the CDC’s guidelines with one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity
aerobic exercise. These strenuous workouts are meant to get
you breathing hard and increase your heart rate significantly. Examples of vigorous-intensity aerobics include: jogging,
biking 10 mph or faster, swimming laps,
playing soccer, hiking uphill. It’s also OK to do a mix of moderate and
vigorous-intensity aerobics during the week if you prefer. As a rule of thumb, one minute of vigorous-intensity
exercise is about equal to two minutes of moderate-intensity aerobics. Don’t feel pressured to push yourself too
hard, though. If you want to meet your weekly aerobics requirements
strictly from walking, that’s perfectly fine. Walking is a great low-impact exercise that
will give you all of the health benefits of a more intense workout, without overexerting
yourself. Strength training. Strength training (sometimes called resistance
training) is another great way to improve your heart health. When combined with aerobics, strength training
will help to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. It can also reduce your risk of having a heart
attack or stroke. Both the CDC and the American Heart Association
suggest you participate in strength training exercises at least twice a week (on nonconsecutive
days). Ideally, these strength training sessions
should work all of your major muscle groups: arms, legs, hips, chest, shoulders, abs, and
back. Although this might sound intimidating, it’s
far from the weightlifting and bodybuilding you see on TV. Some examples of strength training exercise
include: lifting free weights,
using resistance bands, doing pushups,
doing situps, doing squats. Strength training exercises should be done
in sets. Each set should consist of 8 to 12 repetitions,
or until it becomes difficult for you to perform another repetition without help. Flexibility. Although they may not influence your heart
health directly, flexibility and stretching exercises can contribute a lot to your workout. Activities like yoga, tai chi, and Pilates
will not only improve your flexibility and balance, but also decrease your chances of
getting cramps, joint aches, and muscle pain while working out. Flexibility exercises make it easier to do
other types of physical activities that are necessary for a healthy heart. The great thing about flexibility training
is that you can do it anytime, anywhere. Whether it’s warming up before a workout,
taking a hot yoga class, or just doing some stretches in your living room, improving your
flexibility is always a good idea if you’re serious about heart health.