The month of February seems to be overflowing with symbols of love and devotion: shaped into candy, stamped onto cards, sewn into pillows and stuffed animals – the heart is everywhere! Valentine’s Day is only one event that happens to fall in the short month, though; February is American Heart Month, too. So, while you shower your friends, partner, and family with affection, turn your gaze inward and show some love to your heart, as well!
It’s well known that exercise is the best way to keep a heart healthy, but did you know that there are certain one that are better for the cardiovascular system than others? It’s important to note that exercise and how safely you can do it changes with health conditions. If you have an existing heart condition or are at high risk of developing one, talk to your doctor about safe exercises and avoid strenuous workouts when you do!
Here’s a few of the best exercises for healthier hearts.
1. Paced Walking
As an easy starting point as well as a very effective workout at any stage of fitness, walking is severely underrated. Not only is it easier on the body and joints than running and other exercises are, but it provides plenty of opportunity for an increased heart-rate while you chat with a friend, listen to an audiobook, or enjoy nature.
Since you can control the resistance on a bike, cycling presents a very versatile workout that can be as easy or as difficult as you choose. It’s a great exercise for cardiovascular health, as the use of the bigger muscles in your legs really get the blood pumping and reduces the risk of heart disease.
3. Weight and Strength Training
Building muscles helps in several areas of cardiovascular health. Besides raising your heart-rate when you lift – or do body-weight exercises – strength training also increases the learn muscle mass that burns calories even when you’re at rest. This helps control and maintain weight, which is a big contributor to a healthy cardiovascular system.
As a strength and flexibility exercise, yoga benefits the heart in more indirect ways than other exercises. Instead of raising your pulse, the mindfulness and calming facet of yoga can actually lower blood pressure and contribute to healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels, which are good when it comes to heart health!
5. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
With the constant fluctuation between intense activity and a recovery period, HIIT workouts strengthen the function of the heart and blood vessels by forcing a continuous raise and lowering of heart-rate and vessel contraction, which can be healthier than an uninterrupted moderate exercise!
Easy on the joints, but a full-body workout: swimming has it all! Since you’re using almost every muscle to propel yourself through the water, the heart gets a workout trying to supply all the blood every muscle needs. Swimming decreases the risk of a myriad of different diseases and conditions, including heart disease and strokes.
Use your heart and show it some love this year, you’ll thank yourself later!
If you or someone you love has suffered an exercise injury in the Louisville, Kentucky-area, board certified sports medicine physician Dr. Stacie Grossfeld at Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC can help. Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC is accepting new patients, and same day appointments are available. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Orthopaedic Specialists PLLC today at 502-212-2663.