How Much You Should Exercise for a Healthy Heart and Which Exercises Are Necessary?
Whether you take a daily stroll around the neighborhood or swim 20 lengths in the morning, there are numerous reasons to exercise. When you move, you feel more energized and less stressed, but your heart is the organ that benefits the most.
According to the American Heart Association, at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week is recommended. In addition to improving the circulation of blood throughout the body, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, doing so can also reduce the risk of cardiac disease.
Erik Van Iterson, Ph.D., MS, an expert in cardiac rehabilitation, discusses why exercise is important for heart health, how to exercise, and why you should monitor your heart rate.
Why is Exercise Important for Heart Health?
Exercising can help to strengthen your heart and enhance your cardiorespiratory fitness. “Scientific data has consistently shown that aerobic or cardio style exercise improves not just the circulation within your heart, but the circulation throughout your entire cardiovascular system,” Dr. Van Iterson explains.
“This generally refers to the ability to circulate blood in an effective and efficient manner, which typically leads to lower cardiovascular risk.” Dr. Van Iterson emphasizes that exercise to promote heart health is applicable to anybody, regardless of age, gender, background, or financial level. “Exercise is the simplest form of medicine,” he claims. “It’s something you can control and take back into your own hands.”
How Many Types of Exercise Are Necessary to Maintain a Healthy Heart?
Physical activity is a crucial component of cardiac health. It is one of your most effective instruments for strengthening the heart muscle, maintaining a healthy weight, and preventing artery damage caused by high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure, which can result in a heart attack or stroke. Here are the benefits of various forms of exercise.
Aerobic exercise increases circulation, which lowers blood pressure and heart rate, according to Stewart. Furthermore, it improves your total aerobic fitness, as determined by a treadmill test, and it improves your cardiac output (how well your heart pumps). Aerobic exercise also lowers the chance of developing type 2 diabetes and, if you already have diabetes, helps you regulate your blood glucose levels.
Ideally, at least 30 minutes each day, five days per week. Walking at a fast pace, jogging, swimming, cycling, playing tennis, and jumping rope. Doctors suggest at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week, which includes heart-pumping aerobic exercise.
Resistance Exercise (Strength Training)
According to Stewart, resistance training has a more specific effect on body composition. It can help individuals with excessive body fat (including a large abdomen, a risk factor for heart disease) lose fat and build leaner muscle mass. A combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training may help increase HDL (good) cholesterol and decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol, according to research.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, at least two nonconsecutive days of resistance training per week is a reasonable rule of thumb. Utilizing free weights (such as hand weights, dumbbells, or barbells), weight machines, resistance bands, or body-resistance exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and chin-ups.
Flexibility, Balance, and Stretching
Stretching and other flexibility exercises have no direct impact on heart health. They promote musculoskeletal health, allowing you to remain flexible and free of joint discomfort, cramping, and other muscle disorders.
Every day, as well as before and after other forms of exercise. Your doctor can propose simple stretches you can do at home, or you can locate DVDs or YouTube tutorials to follow (but consult your doctor if the intensity of the exercise concerns you). Tai chi and yoga are two more activities that can help with these abilities, and classes are available in many towns.