The heart is one of the most important organs in the entire human body. The heart pumps the blood, which carries all the vital materials which help our bodies. Your heart is the centre of your cardiovascular system and unknown to many, your heart is a muscle, and it gets stronger and healthier if you lead an active life.
Exercising on the regular can make a big difference in keeping your heart healthy as people who don’t exercise are more likely to get heart diseases. There are different types of exercises that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to help keep your heart healthy and we have listed some of them below.
- Aerobic exercise (Cardio)
Aerobic exercise is good for your heart because it causes you to breathe more deeply and it helps you to raise your heart rate. Common aerobic exercise includes walking, jogging, running, dancing, swimming, and bicycling.
For all these activities, your heart rate is increased and you breathe harder because you are moving fast and one way to measure this exercise is to be able to talk to someone while doing it otherwise you are pushing too hard.
Aerobic exercise also reduces the risk of type-2 diabetes and, if you already live with diabetes, it helps you control your blood glucose. Ideally, at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week of aerobic exercise keeps your heart healthy.
- Water Aerobics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water exercises have been shown to improve the use of joints in people with arthritis without worsening symptoms. Water aerobics offers the heart-health benefits of a good aerobic exercise workout without causing as much stress on the joints as other exercise routines might.
If you have conditions such as arthritis, knee pain, or are overweight, water aerobics may be the perfect exercise for you.
- Strength training
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, at least two nonconsecutive days per week of resistance training is a good rule of thumb. Let your muscles recover for a day between sessions. Strength training has a more specific effect on body composition.
For people who are carrying a lot of body fat (including a big belly, which is a risk factor for heart disease), it can help reduce fat and create leaner muscle mass.
Research also shows that a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance work may help raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. You can use weights, resistance bands, or your own body weight (yoga, for instance) for this.
- Practice Yoga
At first glance, yoga may not seem like an obvious heart health activity, but it is. Active styles of yoga such as Ashtanga (a style of yoga as exercise) and Bikram (is a system of hot yoga, a type of yoga as exercise) can offer cardiovascular benefits, as your heart rate is elevated throughout the class.
- Circuit training
When it comes to improving your heart health, it is good to always be on the move and one of the best types of exercises to increase your cardiovascular fitness is circuit training. Working out on a very high intensity causes the blood to pump a lot harder and that challenges the elasticity of the arterial wall.
It stretches the arteries and improves the elasticity for better cardiovascular fitness. Opting for minimal rest periods, and alternating between upper and lower body exercises is the ideal way to get maximum results.
Stretching increases your flexibility especially if you do this a couple of times a week. Flexibility workouts, such as stretching, don’t directly contribute to heart health. What they do is benefit musculoskeletal health, which enables you to stay flexible and free from joint pain, cramping and other muscular issues.
Flexibility is a critical part of being able to maintain aerobic exercise and resistance training. You should keep it at the back of your mind to stretch gently because if it hurts, you are pushing yourself too far.