Physical activity not only strengthens the heart and improves lung function, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, it also reduces certain coronary disease risk factors like plaque build-up and high blood pressure. That’s why it’s important to start an exercise routine so you can keep this vital body organ healthy. That said, following are 4 exercise that can keep you heart healthy.
Walking or Jogging
Walking is a great way to strengthen your heart and you can do it anywhere — on an outside track, inside on a treadmill or around the block. You’ll benefit more if you walk at a steady pace, gradually increasing your speed as you get used to walking. Jogging is even better and burns up more calories. But jogging is also hard on the knees, so you need to determine which exercise benefits you the must without exuding undue stress on your joints. Start with a half mile or mile and increase the distance you walk or jog as you build your endurance.
Biking is known to provide similar cardiovascular benefits to brisk walking, according to Harvard. In a recent nurse’s study, it was discovered that women who added cycling to their exercise routine were better able to maintain their body weight than those who participated in less strenuous exercise routines. And controlling weight is an important part of keeping your heart healthy.
Swimming can strengthen you heart while putting little stress on your joints. Whether you swim at home or at a swim club, plan to swim for 20 to 40 minutes at a pace that elevates your heart rate, according to the University of California Berkeley. Build your swimming pace up gradually because your heart rate won’t increase as much as it does during running. And try to incorporate as many strokes as possible during your swimming sessions. You should also try varying your speeds when swimming. For example, start slower to warm up and then build up your speed. Ease up for a few minutes to rest and then swim at a faster pace. This will keep you in the water longer rather than burning yourself out too quickly.
It’s best to work your entire body when weight training. But of any exercise, squats can work your heart more and build your endurance. When squatting, start with a bar or just your bodyweight. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart. Inhale as you bend you knees, stopping when the backs of your legs are parallel to the floor. Exhale as you push yourself back up. Add weight as your legs get stronger. Perform 8 to 12 repetitions and up to four sets of squats twice per week.
Consult with your physician before starting any exercise regimen.