The heart is one of the most important muscles in your body. As a muscle, heart gets stronger and healthier with regular exercise. Commit to live an active life combined with exercise, balance diet, good quality sleep, and your heart will get healthier. According to WebMD, people who don’t exercise are twice as likely to get heart disease as those who do. Start slow and work out up to 30 minutes per day, five days per week. The exercise should be of moderate intensity – enough to get your heart rate up but not so intense that you couldn’t carry on a conversation. Here are a few benefits of daily exercise:
- Exercise will help you to lose weight. The obesity is one of the major risk factor for heart disease. Staying slim will prolong your life!
- Exercise will lower your blood pressure. Hypertension or high blood pressure is another major risk factor in the development of heart disease. One of three people doesn’t even know they have hypertension, and of those who do know, only 50% taking the medications have it under control.
- Exercise will reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol. The high cholesterol is another major risk factor for heart disease. Cholesterol deposits on the walls of the blood vessels including the coronary artery or blood vessels of the heart and may lead to the heart attack or strokes if clots break off.
- Exercise will increase your HDL (good) Cholesterol. HDL cholesterol removes bad cholesterol from the blood and keep the walls of your blood vessels clean, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis.
So what kind of specific exercises will help strengthen my heart and generally improve the overall health?
Experts generally recommend a mix of aerobic and strength exercises, with stretching before and after to avoid injury. What are good aerobic exercises for the non-athlete? Cycling – this is a great exercise because you can elevate your heart rate easily, then drop it just as easily by coasting Swimming – another low impact exercise, swimming offers full body resistance to quickly get your heart working. You can also swim with your fingers apart to increase the workout.
Walking – here’s an exercise that doesn’t require any specialized equipment or planning. All you need is some time and a plan for where you want to go. Good exercises for building strength include:
Lifting weights – is great for building strength because of the repetitive nature of the movement and it impact on bone density.
Floor exercises – you don’t need to invest in weights for strength training. Begin doing small sets of exercises like squats, lunges and planks.
Yoga – some yoga is pretty intense, but stretching out your muscles before any workout is a good idea to prevent injury.
Wii Fit – the American College of Sports Medicine says that some of Wii Fit activities qualify as exercise. There are also stretching exercises that it will lead you through.
With a modest investment of two to three hours per week, you can make a big improvement in your heart health.