Exercising to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Posted on February 27, 2012 by Craig Trinkley

With February being American Heart Month, we’d like to touch upon exercise and the role it plays in keeping your heart healthy. It’s recommended that we get at least 30-60 minutes of exercise per day and as for the type of exercise, there are countless activities to choose from.

Exercising is known to have a variety of health benefits for your heart, which include:

  • Improved energy levels
  • Strengthening your heart and cardiovascular system
  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Improved circulation and the ability to better utilize oxygen

Exercise is also a key component to maintaining your overall level of wellness – so where should you begin when you want to exercise for a healthy heart? Well, for starters, you need to take a closer look at the types of exercise that most benefit you.

There are three core areas of exercise that can be very beneficial to your heart:

Stretching: This type of exercise involves the slow lengthening of muscles to prepare them for exercise. Stretching can improve range of motion and flexibility while also reducing the risk of injury and muscle strain.

Aerobic Exercise: This type of exercise involves steady activity using large muscle groups. Aerobic exercise strengthens both the heart and the lungs by improving your body’s ability to use oxygen. Of all types of exercise, this is where you see the most benefit. Over time, aerobic exercise can help decrease heart rate and blood pressure at rest while also improving breathing. Examples of aerobic exercise include running, walking, jogging, cycling, cross-country skiing, skating, rowing, or aerobics.

Strengthening: This type of exercise involves repeated muscle contractions until the muscle becomes tired. For those with certain heart conditions, this type of exercise may be difficult.

Eventually, in order to get the most heart-healthy benefit, you should work up to doing 20 to 30 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise. As with all forms of exercise, be sure to consult with your doctor if you’re not sure of what types of exercise may be right for you. The key to keeping your ticker in tip top shape is to exercise regularly and to gradually build your strength, endurance, and performance overall. Getting into a routine of working out and actively pushing your body can be challenging, but the payoff can mean a lifetime of better health.

Which aerobic exercise activity do you practice for a healthy heart?


Tags: Fitness
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