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5 Exercises for a Healthy Heart

.Healthy heart exercises that challenge and strengthen your heart are very important in getting the top performance of your body throughout your life.  You might think that getting fit means spending hours each week in the gym.  You don’t need to be a hardcore athlete or exerciser to reap the many benefits that a regular fitness routine provides.

A regular exercise program will help to make your body look good, feel good, and move better. It’s also an ideal way to take care of your body’s most important muscle – your heart!

The human heart is an amazing piece of equipment, capable of pumping about five quarts of blood throughout the body EVERY minute. That’s around 2,000 gallons of blood each day!  On top of that, the average heart beats about 100,000 times each day, making it easy to understand why a strong, healthy heart is so important.

While you can exercise to build strength in your skeletal muscles, many people don’t realize how a proper exercise routine can also help your heart become stronger, healthier and more efficient at doing its job.

Healthy Heart Exercises

  1. Brisk Walking

Our bodies are meant to walk, so whether you prefer the open road or a treadmill, brisk walking is a great way to improve your fitness and keep your heart pumping strong.  A leisurely stroll is better than sitting on the coach.  Be sure to push yourself a bit on the pace to make your walks moderately intense.

  1. Running

Consider adding running into your fitness routine if you can handle it.  In addition to being a great calorie burner, running will push your cardiovascular fitness to the next level.

If you’re new to running, start out with a brisk walk and add 1-2 minutes of running every 5 minutes of walking.  As you get more fit, you can increase the time you run and before you know it you won’t even need to walk!

  1. Cycling

Regular cycling can be a great way to increase your heart health.  Cycling uses large muscle groups in the legs to elevate your heart rate. This will give your cardiovascular fitness a boost, and burn a lot calories.

As an added bonus, cycling is a low-impact exercise that is easy on the joints and can be done indoors (by yourself or in a class setting) or outdoors (on or off road).

  1. Yoga

Not all activities have to be high intensity to increase the health of your heart.  At first glance yoga may not seem like a heart healthy activity, but you’ll soon find it provides cardiovascular benefits.  Plus it’s great for total body strengthening, mobility/flexibility and building a great mind-body connection.

There are many types of yoga available, so be sure to check which is right for you.  Ashtanga and Bikram are 2 examples of yoga styles that can offer great cardiovascular benefits. Your heart rate is elevated throughout these classes.

  1. Interval or Circuit Training

If you find it difficult or boring to do a continuous stint of aerobic-type activities, try interval training.

Interval training is when you alternate short bursts of higher intensity exercises with a low-intensity recovery period.  Intervals can be incorporated into a wide variety of exercises….walking, running, biking, rowing, treadmills, weights, etc.

Another good option is to set up a circuit training style workout by choosing 5-10 strength training exercises. Perform them one after the other with minimal rest between sets.

Intervals and circuits keep people motivated to exercise improves muscular strength, endurance and heart health.

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