Top exercises for a healthy heart
Your heart is a muscle, so when you strengthen it, you help it become more efficient. You don’t need much to get going! Try spending 30 minutes a day doing a moderate-intensity activity (such as brisk walking) and slowly build up from there. (2)
Below are a few key ways to get your heart pumping.
What to include in your exercise plan
1. Cardio exercise
Cardio exercise is a great way to get your heart working. It improves circulation, which in turn lowers blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels. It also increases your general aerobic fitness, strengthens your heart and blood vessels and helps improve the flow of oxygen throughout your body. Activities such as jogging, biking and swimming are a few examples.
While stretching doesn’t directly contribute to heart health, it’s an essential part of any exercise routine because it improves muscular health during cardio and resistance training. That being said, slowing down and breathing during stretches can help calm your nervous system which does help your heart. Thai chi and yoga are just a few examples of activities that include stretching.
3. Strength training
Strength training offers a variety of heart health benefits. It can help reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also helps reduce fat, create leaner muscle mass and boosts your metabolic rate. Using weights, resistance bands, or your body weight (such as push-ups or squats) are all examples of strength training exercises. Doing exercises two or three times a week is generally recommended to get optimal benefits.
Remember, your heart is a muscle, so the more you use it, the stronger it gets! Whatever activities you decide to do, don't forget to check in with your doctor. They’ll make sure you're ready for the exercises you have in mind and let you know about any limits on what you can do.