5 Best Exercises to Get Your Heart into Shape : In our efforts to be healthy, we workout, we change our diets, we ditch toxic house cleaners, and we switch beauty products. But as you’re adding and subtracting routines and products from your life in order to be more health-conscious, have you considered your heart?
Cardiovascular health is an often overlooked part of overall health. People assume that any exercise is good exercise, and while this is true, certain forms of exercise specifically target and keep the heart strong.
Keep reading for your guide on the top exercises for the heart!
What are the Best Exercises to Get Your Heart into Shape ?
We get asked a lot of questions here at Women Fitness Magazine – everything from beauty questions like, “Does sugaring hurt?”, to health and fitness questions like, “What is the best total body routine?”.
Today, we’re answering a question about cardiovascular health, and how to keep your ticker healthy.
When it comes to heart health and the best exercises for one, it’s all about aerobic exercise. Don’t get us wrong – lifting weights and stretching contribute to the heart as well.
But if we’re talking about targeting the heart specifically, then what we’re really talking about is exercises that get that heart rate up – and that means cardio!
Total Body Workouts
Total body workouts that utilize a combination of bodyweight movements, spurts of intense energy, endurance cardio, and weight training top our list. Why?
Because they work everything, including your heart, as it was meant to work together. Isolating muscles while weight training or going for long runs are great, but when you blend it all together, your body is working as it was meant to. All muscle groups are firing and each system is working with others to make the movements happen.
Crossfit workouts are probably the king of this, combining cardio activities like running with weight lifting and box jumps while a timer keeps you accountable. Your heart will be pumping hard and fast through a full-body workout – making it strong and healthy.
When you hear the words cardio, running is probably the first thing that comes to mind. And for good reason – almost everyone can do it effectively with little to no equipment just about anywhere. It’s a workout that travels easily and doesn’t require a membership.
The perfect running program incorporates faster, shorter runs with longer, slower-paced endurance runs. Try to run on different terrains that include both hills and flat tracks. By working at different levels of exertion in different conditions, you’ll ensure that your heart gets worked on multiple levels.
If you aren’t a regular runner, start slow and work your way up. Trying to dive into a program too quickly can leave you with shin splints and tight IT bands that will have you stuffing your running shoes back into the closet.
A few slow, easy jogs a week is an excellent place to start.
Not a fan of running? Head to your local pool or lake instead.
Swimming, when done properly, can get your heart into the same endurance range as running or jogging can. The key is to keep in mind that you’re trying to get your heart rate up and then leave it there for an extended period of time. This isn’t the time to slowly splash around on a floaty.
If you’re in the pool, do timed sets of laps or commit to a certain number of laps before stopping. If you’re near a natural body of water you can get into, pick a point and swim there without stopping.
If you’re someone who likes to be out in nature, try hiking instead. Hiking is a great form of exercise for the heart.
Hiking requires a steady output of energy as you make your way down a trail. Most hiking paths offer a mix of hills and flat areas, meaning your heart will go through periods of working harder with more restful spots.
And bonus if you’re carrying a pack with food, water, and essentials – you’ll get some weight training in as well!
A fun activity that can be done with your partner or in a group is dancing. Whether you decide on exercise classes formed around dance movements like Zumba, take actual dance classes or are just rocking out solo in your living room, your heart will definitely be pumping.
Further, studies show dancing is a mood booster! Not only will your heart be happy, you’ll feel happier and lighter after a session of shaking your booty.
The Right Way to Do Cardio
You want to incorporate cardiovascular forms of exercise that get your heart rate up and keep it there with others that push it up to the limit for a short time. What does this look like?
- Intervals. Intervals are where you push to maximum effort for a short burst of time followed by a cool-down period of moderate effort. While running, for instance, sprint as fast as you can for 10 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of a slower jog.
- Endurance. Choose a speed or effort level you can maintain and try to keep that pace for twenty to thirty minutes of activity. Start with a few minutes at a time and work your way up.
Ready to Get Your Heart Pumping?
Now that you know how to make your heart healthy, it’s time to go get that ticker ticking with these exercises for the heart! Mix it up and incorporate exercises for your heart on a daily basis in normal ways – a run after work, swimming during the summer or dancing on the weekends with friends.
Looking for more articles on everything about fitness and Exercise? Check out the rest of the articles on this site!
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