The best exercises to improve your heart’s healthTom Welbourne
We should always strive for change and self-improvement, whether we are fit and healthy or living with a condition.
Some people can easily change their exercise patterns and diet, but it’s a little more tricky for others. Instead of trying to make significant changes all at once, you might be able to improve your heart’s health by making more minor changes over time. This way may take longer, but trust us – it’ll be better in the long run.
If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to improving your heart health with exercise, stay tuned.
We’ve outlined three types of training and five specific activities that everyone can do to improve and strengthen their heart.
- Aerobic Exercise. This type of exercise helps to improve blood circulation, which can lower heart rate and blood pressure. It can also increase overall aerobic fitness and cardiac output (how well your heart pumps blood around the body). Aerobic exercise can also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. So if you already have the condition, it can help control your blood sugar levels. Thirty minutes a day, five days a week is ideal. Aerobic exercises include brisk walking, running, cycling, jumping rope or playing football. Doctors recommend these activities when telling patients to exercise, and they usually recommend at least 150 minutes per week.
- Resistance Training. This workout helps to change body composition. For those who carry an excess percentage of body fat, which increases the risk of heart disease, this exercise can help reduce fat and increase muscle mass. Research shows that a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training can help increase HDL (good cholesterol) and decrease LDL (bad cholesterol). Doctors recommend doing two nonconsecutive days of resistance training per week. Resistance training may include utilising free weights such as dumbbells or barbells, weight machines, callisthenics such as push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups and squats, and resistance bands.
- Stretching, Balance & Flexibility. This style of exercise doesn’t contribute to heart health directly. However, it does help musculoskeletal health. It will allow you to stay flexible and assist in reducing cramping. In addition, stretching relieves joint pain and other muscular issues caused by exercise. Flexibility is an integral part of maintaining aerobic and resistance training. Doing this before and after a training session is recommended—yoga, tai chi and pilates are great to help improve these skills.
How to improve heart health with exercise:
- Walking: Although it may seem easy, walking briskly with speed is a fantastic way to improve heart health. It can help increase heart rate, and it puts less pressure on your joints when compared to other exercises. Walking is also one of the most flexible exercises on this list as it can be done at any time, during a lunch break, going to work or going home. Instead of taking a short bus journey, try walking to the end location.
- Swimming: Swimming laps around a pool is a great full-body workout that can strengthen your body and heart alike. Swimming is effortless on the joints, even more so than walking. It is a complete exercise that will improve your muscle tone and shape.
- Cycling: Studies have shown that cycling helps reduce heart disease and improve mental health. Cycling utilises the muscles of the legs, which helps elevate your heart rate and move blood through your whole body.
- HIIT. High-intensity interval training consists of short bursts of high-intensity exercise paired with small breaks and then alternating between the two. HIIT is a great way to get a full-body workout in a short time. An easy way to start this training method is by sprinting for 30 seconds, walking for 1 minute, and then repeating the cycle for at least 20 minutes. Increasing and decreasing your heart rate assists in burning more calories and improving blood vessel function.
- Weight lifting. Utilising weight training can help with body recomposition. Weight lifting helps increase muscle, reduce fat, and lower heart disease risk. If you are new to weight lifting, start by using light weights with a high number of repetitions. Step by step, your joints will start feeling comfortable with the weight, and you will be able to increase the weight. In a matter of weeks, you will feel stronger and healthier in different ways.
How long should you exercise to improve heart health?
The workout duration will differ depending on the type of exercise you decide to undertake. It is always a good rule of thumb to exercise for at least 20-25 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week as recommended by doctors. The fitter you become, the more this time will inevitably extend.
In addition to what we have seen, other factors aside from training are directly related to heart health, such as increasing fruit and vegetable intake, drinking more water, and increasing the consumption of seafood and nuts. Moreover, reducing the intake of soft drinks with extra added sugar, coffee, and saturated fats can help you better yourself and improve your heart health.
To sum up, keeping a diverse routine, eating healthy, and avoiding excesses will help you reach your goals. Try to find an exercise that motivates you and objectives you can easily reach. This way, you will keep wanting to improve. Buy some new clothes to motivate you, a good pair of trainers that will keep your pace, and start smashing those challenges. A 25% Nike discount code will be perfect to start your new path. Enjoying the process is just as important as improving your heart health, but make sure your health condition will allow the type of training you choose. Talk with your healthcare provider before beginning any new training program to ensure that it is suitable and safe for you.
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