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Exercises to Maintain a Healthy Heart

Exercises to Maintain a Healthy Heart

In the early part of a new year, physical fitness seems to be on everyone’s mind. It’s February—the time where all those New Year’s resolutions are really put to the test. If you made having a healthier heart one of your resolutions, a balanced diet and exercise routine can be essential to this goal! If you haven’t made improving heart health one of your goals this year, there’s still plenty of time.

Heart disease and stroke are some of the leading causes of death, making this area of health extremely important. Get exercise tips and more below for the first step towards a healthy heart this year!

How Much Physical Activity is Recommended?

To maintain cardiovascular health, it is recommended that an individual go through a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity ideally 5 days a week (150 minutes total).

Another option is a minimum of 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity 3 days a week (75 minutes total) combined with moderate to intense muscle-strengthening activity 2 days a week.

If an individual specifically wants to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol, 40 minutes of moderate / vigorous aerobic activity is suggested 3 to 4 times a week.

While above is the recommended goal for a healthy heart, remember—something is better than nothing! If you can’t commit to 5 or 4 days a week, start slow and build your way up!

Go-To Exercises for the Heart

Circuit Training

Want to boost your cardiovascular fitness? Circuit training can be a fun, challenging way to break up the regular running approach. Circuit training utilizes a series of strength and / or cardio exercises that are repeated several times with minimum to no rest between each set. There are plenty of different options for exercises, from lunges and squats to sprint intervals.

Why circuit training is great:

  • Keeps you on your toes moving from one exercise to the next.
  • All-strength circuits can offer more cardio benefits than a typical weight workout.
  • Combining cardio and strength creates a fast-paced workout and keeps your mind tuned in.

Working out high intensity through circuit training gets your blood pumping very hard, challenging the elasticity of the arterial wall, stretching arteries and improving cardiovascular fitness.

Aim for minimal rest periods and alternate between upper and lower body exercises.

Yoga & Stretch Training

If lifting heavy weights isn’t your favorite type of exercise, break up some of the monotony with a few days of yoga and stretch training. This can help keep your muscles ready for more intense days and still be a great source of cardio fitness.

Yoga can be a great way to utilize your own body weight in a workout. There are intense yoga workouts that put your cardio to the test and others that aim for a more relaxed, muscle stretching approach. Check out these 4 yoga poses for a healthy heart!

If you want to try stretch training, small weights, resistance bands, and body weight can be all you need to get the right amount of blood pumping in your heart.

Running Intervals

Getting out and running a few miles is a well-known way to help maintain a healthy heart. If you want to push your cardiovascular fitness and build greater heart strength, adding running intervals to the mix can be a great option.

Some tips to keep in mind for running intervals:

  • Pick something fun and challenging, like hills or short sprints
  • Keep it to around 10 seconds at a time to ensure all out effort
  • Start with four 10-second intervals and work your way up to 10
  • Begin your workout with sprint intervals for improved results

Cycling

Getting on a bike and doing some cycling regularly can help reduce your risk for coronary heart disease according to studies. That makes cycling an excellent way to improve heart health and enjoy a scenic ride at the same time!

Aim for about 20 miles of cycling a week—or at least build your way up to this. When you are cycling, you are utilizing large muscle groups in your legs, which helps elevate your heart rate and burn calories, all while improving your cardiovascular health.

Want more health tips? Follow up with Garfield Medical Center’s blog for insight on living a healthy life in 2016.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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