It’s no hidden secret, exercise is good for your heart. In honor of Heart Health Month we’re looking at which exercises, specifically, are best. While most movement benefits the heart, there are exercise choices that have been proven to reduce your risk of heart disease or a heart attack. The best news? Even if you are pressed for time, and not a big exercise person, you can find the time to do most of these activities.
1. Walking. One of the simplest exercises that will boost your heart health is walking. You can walk anywhere: At home, a park, work, etc. If you live within walking distance to your office, skip the commute and take a stroll. Walk in the evening after dinner around the neighborhood. Anything you can do to walk more will help your heart in the long term, cutting the risk for heart disease by as much as 34 percent.
2. Circuit training. Working out at a very high intensity might not be right for all. But it is the single best way to help your heart. An intense workout starts blood pumping a lot harder, which challenges the elasticity of the arterial wall. The best way to do it? Take short rests and alternate between upper and lower body exercises.
3. Lifting weights. Strong muscles work to ease the stress on your heart. It also allows you to increase your heart rate during your reps. You don’t need to be a professional, bulky weight-lifter to get benefits of lifting weights. Start using free weights and gradually increase the weight. This is another simple exercise you can do at home. Purchase a few barbells and lift in your living room while you watch your favorite shows.
4. Constant activity. Some people are naturally active. If you work in a profession that requires a lot of workouts you will already be in good shape. For the rest of us? Find ways to keep from being still for too long. If you have a flexible boss, go for a run at the gym during a long lunch. Volunteer to be the person that changes those heavy water jugs in the office. Vacuum your home, or run errands. Do what you can every day to keep active and your heart will thank you.
5. Ride a bike. Stationary bikes or riding outdoors is great for your heart. Ride a bike to work or use the stationary bike in a gym. You can even bring your phone to the gym and watch TV or text your friends while your heart is working hard! Bike riding will also improve your leg muscles, making this a great two-for!
6. Swimming. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says swimming is one of the best aerobic exercises and one of the most popular in the country. Just a few hours of swimming every week gives you all the exercise you need for your heart. It’s an added benefit if you live near an ocean or lake, however your neighborhood pool is also a great place. Swimming is the perfect exercise for those just starting to work out, or if you have arthritis.
7. Yoga. Experts report those who practice yoga for at least one year reduce their cholesterol by as much as 23 percent. Those same people in the study also reduced their LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by as much as 26 percent. A yoga-based exercise routine, combined with a good diet improves the heart by as much as 70 percent! That’s in part because yoga is a calming exercise, which reduces stress, one of the leaders of heart disease.
8. Dance! Not every exercise that benefits your heart is all business. Dancing is another great way to improve heart health. Make sure you have the right shoes and take a class, or have a great date night that will benefit you and someone you care about. Dancing has a varied impact on heart health depending on how fast you’re moving, however a good aerobic beat, according to experts, is about 120 to 135 beats per minute. So move more to Bruno Mars, and less to Adele for optimal results!
Those are a few choices to move your body and improve your heart health. Have you own? Share them in our comments section or Tweet them to us today!