Being a cardiac nurse, I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your heart healthy. Yes, we can do this by eating the right foods, but we can also do our body a favor by finding and practicing the right heart health exercises. You see, many cardiac exercises may be good for the heart, but not necessarily good for the body.
What are bad heart health exercises?
Basically, any type of vigorous exercise that you are not really trained for is not that great for this balance between your heart and your body. For example, getting on a bike and taking a long 20-mile ride that you are not used to may be bad for your heart if you over work it. In fact, you can risk having an attack.
Running long distance on pavement, for example, is not one of the best ways to obtain that overall balance between what is good for the body and the heart. I did a lot of this until the aches and pains set in. Humans simply aren’t designed for long-term pounding on the pavement. You see, running this way strengthens the heart, however, it wears out the body.
What exercises are good for the heart?
The best thing you can do is take up an activity you enjoy doing and are consistent with. For example, if you like to swim and you have regular access to a swimming pool, then do that. If you live near an ocean and you like to body surf or boogie board, do that. My husband Ralph loves to boogie board, but I noticed that because he doesn’t do it all the time, when he does, afterwords, he looks a little frazzled (if you know what I mean, he’s not as young as he used to be…lol).
Here is a list of three of the best cardiac exercises
Interval training: This is great for preventing heart disease, diabetes, losing weight, and overall improving fitness. Simply combine short periods of high-intensity exercise with slightly longer periods of active recovery. So if enjoy walking, you might try alternating a few minutes at normal speed with a minute at a fast pace. Continuously raising and lowering your heart rate improves vascular function, burns calories, and makes the body more efficient at clearing fat and sugar from the blood.
Weight training: Actually, this is simply another form of interval training. You increase your heart rate during reps and recover between sets, if you are doing it correctly. By efficiently handling the demands placed upon your muscles, strong muscles ease the overall burden on the heart. Use free weights, which develop more muscles,, and builds your balance.
Weight training has been known for lowering high blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, and helps control blood sugar levels. It may also help boost your metabolism that helps you maintain healthy weight levels, by increasing lean muscle tissue and decreasing fat tissue in the body. The really cool thing is that you don’t have to do as much as you might think. A Harvard study mentions that weight-training more than 30 minutes per week decreased heart disease risk by 23 percent.
Being active all day: People who are active in little ways the entire day (cleaning, gardening, running errands) burn more calories and are generally healthier than those who exercise for 30 to 60 minutes and then sit at a computer. Wear a pedometer to measure how active you are outside of your exercise time.
Here is a very simple strategy you can do for heart health exercises even if you are short of time
Take a walk three times a week for at least a half of an hour. During this walk, alternate a few minutes at normal speed with a minute at a fast pace.
Do simple weight lifting at least two days a week, by using light weights with 3 sets of 15 with 10 to 15 pound weights, resting in between each set for about 5 minutes.
walk for 15 minutes while you are at work during your lunch break and take the stairs instead of the elevator if you have one. Plus, stay active doing things you enjoy doing like gardening, cleaning or any other activity that is not only good for your heart, but your overall mood as well. Of course eating healthy will certainly help your heart. The heart is a muscle and you can read about how this one nutrient helps build muscle, including your heart.