Your heart is a muscle which gets stronger and healthier with regular exercises and the routine of a healthy life. It is never too late in life to start on the routine of regular exercise, even something as basic as brisk walking for half an hour every day, can prove to be very effective in maintaining a healthy heart. People who are not in the habit of daily exercises have double the possibility of developing heart diseases at some stage in their lives. Routine exercises can help you gain the following: (Information Credit – Getsavvi.co.za)
- Burn calories
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Reduction of LDL or the bad cholesterol
- Elevation of the HDL or the good cholesterol
The following are the most common types of exercises which are conducive to a healthy heart:
- Aerobic or cardio exercises: Biking, running and jogging are some of the most common examples of aerobic exercises.in this case, the speed of your movement should be fast enough such that your heart rate is raised and you are breathing harder. However the pace of movement should also enable you to breathe while you are doing the exercise. In case you have joint problems, you should choose a less stressful activity like swimming or activity.
- Stretching: Doing this exercise for a few times in a week will enhance your flexibility. Stretching should be done gently after you have warmed up or completed exercising.
- Strength training: This can be done by using weights, resistance bands, or even your own body weight (for example, yoga). Doing it twice or thrice a week will prove to be greatly effective in maintaining a healthy heart. You should give some time to your muscles for recovery between sessions.
In the following section, some of the most common aerobic exercises, beneficial for the heart, are discussed in detail:
- Exercise at home by climbing stairs: In order to derive the maximum health benefits from any aerobic exercise, you should set a target of reaching between 50 and 85 percent of your heart rate. Climbing stairs is one of the effective ways to attain that target heart rate. You can do it at your home or use a stair machine inside a gym.
- Swimming: It is one of the most useful aerobic exercises as two and a half hours of swimming per week is extremely beneficial for the health of your heart. Another plus point of swimming is that your bones and joints are not put under too much stress.
- Bike riding: While bike riding you will feel a pumping motion in your legs. This motion is a highly useful aerobic exercise for your heart. This purpose can be served by either by a road bike or just by pedaling on a stationary bike.
- Walking/jogging: Aerobic exercises are those which involve the use of large muscles in rhythmical and continuous manner and walking is the best example of that. It is safe, convenient and obviously free-of-cost. Thus walking/jogging is the most common example of an aerobic exercise which is beneficial for the heart.
Some other popular aerobic exercises are dancing and spinning on an elliptical machine.
How much should you exercise and at what frequency?
You should keep a target of exercising for 150 minutes a week with activities of moderate-intensity like brisk walking. This is equivalent to doing the exercise for half an hour for five days a week. In case you are a beginner, you should not just rush into it but rather slowly build up to that. Once you get used to it, you can start elongating the time span of your exercises or start engaging in more challenging forms of exercises. However the transition should be made gradually so that your boy has the time to adjust. While working out, make sure that you keep the pace of your motion less for a few minutes at the start and end of your regime. This way you will alternate between warming up and cooling down each down. Make sure to try different types of exercises.
Precautions to be taken during exercising
You should be able to exercise easily if your doctor recommends its and if you take note of how you are feeling while working out. You should stop exercising immediately in the following cases:
- If you break out into a cold sweat
- If you find trouble breathing
- If you feel an intense pain anywhere in the upper portion of your body like your chest area
- If you suddenly face a very erratic or fast heart rate
- If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or highly fatigued
When you have first started to exercise, it is normal for muscles to feel sore for a few days after the workout. The more you get used to the daily exercise routine, the more that sensation of muscle soreness starts diminishing. Eventually the benefits of the exercise will start getting manifested in the health of your heart and cholesterol.