5 Best Exercises for Your Heart
February is American Heart Month so Train with Nicole has the five best exercises for your heart.
The heart is arguably the most important muscle in your body, so keeping it healthy should be a top priority. Like all muscles, your heart needs exercise to stay healthy and strong and you don’t need to be the world’s most prolific athlete to keep it in shape. So, what are the best exercises to do for a healthy heart?
- Taking a Brisk Walk…Indoor on the treadmill, around the neighborhood or at your local park – it doesn’t matter where you do it! Taking a brisk walk is one of the most universal ways to keep your heart in tiptop shape. In fact, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that taking a brisk walk for half an hour a day reduced the risk of heart disease by 18%. Make sure you wear comfortable supportive shoes and push yourself to walk at more than just a leisurely pace to really get your blood pumping!
- …Or Go for a Run! The same Harvard study that showed proven benefits of walking also found that those who ran for at least one hour a week reduced their risk for heart disease by 42%! Running improves cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which contribute to a healthy heart and body. If you’re new to running remember to invest in a good pair of running shoes, pace yourself and don’t be ashamed to take a walk break if you need to!
- Try Out HIIT Workouts: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has been a popular way to exercise for several years, and there’s a reason for that. HIIT is a technique where you go all out and give 110% effort in quick and intense bursts, followed by a short recovery period. This method of exercise keeps your heart rate up and helps burn fat faster. So, if you’re a runner, you may try 3 minutes at your normal pace and a minute of sprinting. Working out this way improves vascular health and increases the body’s efficiency at clearing fat and sugar from the blood.
- Don’t Neglect Strength Training: Yes, strength and resistance training are great for heart health! Incorporate things like lifting weights, resistance bands, and good ol’ pushups, sit-ups and squats. Including these types of exercises into your daily workout routine will raise good cholesterol (and lower the bad) and can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Do a Little Yoga: You read that right, do yoga! It’s known to be a relaxing activity and increases core strength and flexibility. The meditative nature of yoga lowers your blood pressure which in turn makes blood vessels more elastic, improving heart health. The stretches in yoga also benefit musculoskeletal health, keeping your joints flexible and free from pain and enabling you to keep up with your other workouts!
These are just our top 5 favorite exercises for heart health, but any type of exercise if healthy for your body. Doing things like swimming, dancing, aerobics and low-impact sports like rowing are all great ways to keep your heart healthy and in shape.
If you’re struggling with an exercise plan, contact us and we can create a customized heart-healthy exercise plan just for you!