You don't need to be a hardcore athlete to boost your heart health. Moderate exercise can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses as well as improve your endurance, strength and flexibility. Any amount and type of physical activity is beneficial for your overall health, but read on for the amount of exercise and the top five exercises that will best benefit your heart.
How much exercise do you need for heart health?
Experts recommend doing some form of moderate aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. As always, before you start a new exercise plan, talk to your doctor to make sure the physical activities you want to do are appropriate for your age, health and fitness condition.
5 Best exercises to improve heart health Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise is any form of activity that increases your respiratory and heart rate. Though any aerobic exercise is good for your heart, these five physical activities are top-notch for heart health.
1. Brisk walking
Whether you rack up the miles on a treadmill or hit the road, brisk walking is a natural way to improve your fitness. Push yourself to walk at a fast pace to achieve a moderate intensity level.
If you are a beginner to running, start out with a brisk walk and add 1 to 2 minutes of running every 5 minutes of walking. As you get more fit, you can increase the minutes you run until you don't need to walk in between.
The pool may be a great place to float lazily along, but that water can also be a full body fitness challenge. Swimming laps or even participating in water fitness classes will not only raise your heart rate and improve your heart health, the water provides multi-directional resistance that will improve
your muscular strength and tone. Swimming is a safe alternative if you have joint problems that walking or running can aggravate.
Cycling is a low-impact exercise that you can do solo in the gym, in a spin class, or outside on the road or trails. You'll also be building strength and toning your lower body as well as your core muscles.
5. Interval or circuit training
If doing a solid stint of aerobic exercise bores you to tears, mix up your cardio. For example, for every 3 minutes of cardio, do 1 strength training exercise or a high-intensity burst of cardio for 1 minute. Another option is to choose 5 to 10 strength training exercises and perform 1 set of each, doing lower weight and higher repetitions while moving quickly from one exercise to the next to keep your heart rate up. This type of training will not only keep you motivated to exercise, it will improve your muscular strength, endurance and heart health.
PLEASE NOTE: Your Medina Community Recreation Center offers opportunities in all 5 areas listed above. Stop in today for a free tour and to learn more about the services available to help you get heart healthy.