Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to help maintain a heart healthy lifestyle. In fact, heart healthy exercise can lower your blood pressure, increase HDL production, and improve your mood.
Think of your heart like any other muscle in your body. As you are finding ways to strengthen and improve other muscles in your body, don’t forget to think of your heart muscle.
When it comes exercising for a healthy heart, not all exercise is equal. As you are choosing a workout routine, aim for one that will get your heart pumping. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, weekly. An easy way to know how hard you are exercising is by your ability to carry on a conversation.
- Moderate exercise - you should break a sweat but still be able to carry on a conversation with your workout partner
- Vigorous exercise - more intense and makes it difficult to carry on a conversation during the exercise
Any type of aerobic exercise will help to strengthen your heart. The key is to find something you enjoy doing. If you can do an activity you enjoy, you will keep it up. Also, finding a friend to exercise with will help to keep you accountable and active.
Heart-healthy exercise suggestions:
Walking – If you are looking for a good place to start, try walking. Walking is easy and economical. All you need is 30 minutes and a good pair of shoes. Walking can be done indoors or outdoors and is effective for people of varying fitness levels.
Swimming - Swimming can get your heart rate up very quickly. There are many different exercises that can be done in the water. Swimming also tends to be easier on the joints, making it a good choice for those who may be injured.
Cycling - Cycling can be done outdoors in nature or indoors on a stationary bike. It offers a great cardio workout and tends to be easier on the joints than running.
Dance based fitness programs - Many people find that dancing is a wonderful form of aerobic exercise. Dance based fitness programs like Zumba are also a fun way to get active with friends.
Jumping rope - Jumping rope is not only good for your heart; it is also good for coordination. Jumping ropes can be purchased inexpensively and the exercise is easy to do anywhere.
Seasonal aerobic activities - Change up your regular aerobic exercise routine by including seasonal activities. Snow shoeing and cross country skiing are available in the winter while hiking is a good aerobic exercise for summer.
Remember, it is important to check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine. This is especially true for those who are not currently exercising.