Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. today, and the number of its victims is growing. By following a healthy diet and exercise program, you can diminish your risk of heart disease. Here are some great exercises to keep your heart healthy.
1. Strength training
This can include lifting weights, isometric exercises, or activities that cause you to use more muscles than usual. When you build muscle, your body will be able to burn more fat. When it burns more fat, you lose weight, therefore decreasing your chance of heart disease. Try to do strength training exercises at least twice a week. You don’t have to become a bodybuilder. Just push your muscles to work harder than they are accustomed to.
Cardiovascular exercises help to keep the heart muscles strong and allow it to pump blood throughout the body with fewer beats. Walking is excellent cardio activity. Almost anyone can do it, and it is easy to adjust to various fitness levels and situations. Start by walking at a moderate pace a few times a week. You should accelerate your heart rate until you can talk in short sentences. You can then start incorporating intervals into your routine. After walking a few minutes at your standard pace, increase the level of intensity for one minute. Do this several times throughout your walk. You may want to use hills or a treadmill incline to increase the intensity and challenge different muscles. Interval training is a great way to keep your body working at its optimum level. You can also add strength training to your walking regimen. Carry some hand weights as you walk, and occasionally step off the path to do some arm exercises. Add lunges and squats to work the lower half of your body.
As with walking, swimming is an exercise that almost anyone can do. Whether you swim laps, do water aerobics, walk around the pool or tread water, exercising in a pool has great benefits. You will get a total body workout due to the resistance of the water. Your cardiovascular health will improve, and you will build muscle. Swimming has a low risk of injury because it is a low impact activity, so it is perfect for those that are protecting injured joints. Water exercises can also help to relieve stress and tension, as they force you to be aware of and control your breathing. If you want an extra push during your water workout, add some water weights, which are similar to dumbbells. You can fill them with water or leave them empty. They will provide extra resistance in the water, and they are perfect for adding extra upper body exercises to your water routine.
Any movement, including dancing, gardening and playing basketball is good for your heart. Try to be active for 30 minutes at least 5 times a week to keep your heart in great shape.