Good heart health is key for your overall health, and being physically active is the first step towards it. Even taking a walk for 20 minutes a day can make a big difference.
If you are not doing enough exercise, you are more likely to develop heart disease. There are certain risk factors that can lead to an unhealthy heart, such as:
- high blood pressure
- high cholestrol
- physical inactiveness
- diabetes, etc.
Though many risk factors for your heart can't be controlled, such as a family history of heart disease or age, you can take steps to lower the risks by controlling the factors in your control. The best way to do that is exercise regularly and eat a nutritious meal.
Let’s get started and check out a few of the best exercises for good heart health:
Indeed, walking is the best exercise you can do for your overall health, but speed walking is something that is great for your heart health. Speed walking increases your heart rate and is also beneficial for your joints.
It doesn’t matter at what time you go for a walk. All you need is a pair of good shoes and a positive attitude towards improving your heart health. Take at least 20 to 30 minutes out of your busy schedule and go for a speed walking session.
#2 Aerobic exercise
Aerobics is also a very effective exercise to boost your heart health. It improves blood circulation in your body and lowers blood pressure and heart rate. It also enhances your aerobic fitness level and cardiac functions.
Aerobics also helps reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and regulate your blood sugar level. You should do aerobic exercises for at least half an hour every day. If not every day, make it a point to do it at least five days a week.
Check out this video:
Swimming isn’t just for refreshing yourself on summer evenings, but it's great for your heart's health too. Swimming works as a full-body workout and charges up your body as well as your heart. It is easy on your joints and muscles and builds your overall cardiovascular fitness.
Swimming guide for beginners. Check out this video:
#4 Strength training
Strength training, also known as resistance training, is another great exercise to build your heart health. Some good examples of strength training include:
- Exercises with resistance bands
- Lifting free weights.
These exercises should always be done in reps and sets. The ideal set should consist of at least ten reps or more.
Doing strength training exercises helps increase good cholesterol levels and lowers the bad ones. Besides that, it also reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This type of exercise works on almost all the major muscle groups in your body, including your arms, abs, shoulders, hips, back and chest.
Cycling is another significant exercise you can do to improve your heart health. It involves the movement of some of the larger muscles in your legs, which further helps boost your heart rate. The benefits of regular cycling include:
- Increased flexibility and muscle strength
- Improved coordination and body posture
-Strengthened joints, bones, etc.
Besides the above-mentioned exercises, interval training is also a very productive type of workout that improves your heart health. It involves a short duration of high-intensity workouts with a longer duration of active recovery.
High-intensity workouts are typically anaerobic forms of exercise, while the active recovery duration involves exercises of lower intensity. Interval training is considered one of the best ways to include a full-sized and rigorous workout session in a short amount of time. You can start simple interval training by doing exercises such as push-ups, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, lunges and so on- all in reps and sets.
Stretching is also very important if you want to perform all these exercises for your heart health. It enables you to become more flexible and helps you do exercises correctly. It is always best to stretch for a few minutes before and after you’ve performed any of the above-mentioned exercises.
How often and how much should you exercise for your heart health?
Though good fitness is important for your heart health, overdoing any exercise will have a negative impact on your body.
For any moderate-intensity exercise such as walking, you should aim for 30 minutes a day for at least 4 to 5 days a week. However, if you are just getting started with your fitness regime, take your time and slowly build up your pace. For high-intensity workouts such as aerobics and strength training, do every exercise for at least 10 to 12 reps in three sets. Increase the reps and sets accordingly with your comfort and pace.
Remember to let your body adjust before making your workouts more challenging. Do not risk your heart health - be patient, take your time and be consistent in whatever exercise you do.