The Most Effective Whole-Body Exercises for the Heart
We don’t need to tell you that regular exercise is good for you – but we will…because it is. The types of exercise that you can perform are endless, but some may benefit your heart health more than others. In this blog, we will give some suggestions of what you can do to strengthen your heart.
It’s all in the name – cardio is an excellent way to get your heartrate up and blood pumping. When you get your heart rate up with exercise, it allows for your heart to get stronger just like any other muscle in your body. You should incorporate about 30 minutes of cardio at least three times a week in your exercise regimen. Aerobic exercise can lower your blood pressure and improve circulation.
Some full body cardio that you can do can be:
- Jumping rope
- Mountain Climbers
With any exercise, but cardio in particular, make sure you do not exercise past your physical limits. This may mean starting off slow and taking your time. Build up when you feel up to it. If you have any pain or shortness of breath, you should drop back down.
Muscle strengthening exercise can also be good for your heart health, especially when you pair it with something like aerobic exercise. Strength training increases your muscle mass and alleviates strain on your arteries. It has also been connected to a lowered risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.
Exercises that you can incorporate into your strength training are:
- Lifting weights
- Body weight exercise (pushups, stair climbing, lunges)
Here too, be careful how quickly you ramp up your exercise routine. You can easily injure yourself by using weights that are too heavy or stepping up the repetitions too quickly. An injury can sideline you for 6 to 8 weeks which would be far worse than taking a little longer to ramp up.
A lot of people overlook or skip the stretching part of their workout because they think it is useless and time consuming. This could not be further from the truth. Maintaining your flexibility prepares your muscles for the other exercises you perform and decreases your risk of injury. You should stretch every day – use it as time to focus on your breathing and listen to your body. Stretching may not have as direct a link to heart health as the previous two recommendations, but we need to look at heart health from multiple perspectives to incorporate diverse exercises.
Yoga is great for both stretching and strengthening. You can also use your time stretching to meditate, which can lower your heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and alleviate stress – all good things for your heart.
The Bottom Line
Any exercise is better than no exercise. If you can only fit in 30 minutes of brisk walking into your day, do it! Once you find a good groove, fitting in that cardiovascular exercise will come second nature.
If you would like to talk to an experienced cardiologist about what kinds of exercise you should be incorporating into your daily activities, give us a call today. The Heart House provides patient-focused care to everyone who walks through our doors.