Taking Regular Exercise Can Protect Your Heart : The heart is the most important organ in the human body and looking after your heart can be the key to living a long and healthy life. But while the risks of heart disease in men are well-known, too many women overlook the dangers associated with cardiovascular problems.
The good news is that there is a lot that we can do to look after our heart. A healthy diet is important and ensuring that you have regular health check-ups with your doctor can also help. But one of the most effective methods for protecting your heart is the taking of regular exercise. Exercise can strengthen your heart and combat artery damage, lower your blood pressure and reduce blood sugar levels.
The best exercise regime for heart health is a balanced program that combines aerobic work, strength work and flexibility training.
Aerobic exercise boosts circulation, which can reduce your blood pressure and your heart rate. It also helps your heart to pump blood more efficiently around the body and can play a role in reducing the risk of diabetes and a range of cardiovascular problems.
The key to aerobic exercise is consistency. Thirty minutes per day, five days a week is ideal, but if you are new to aerobic exercise, it is advisable to steadily build up to that level. Typical aerobic exercises include sports such as tennis, swimming, cycling or running, but if you aren’t ready for that level of exertion, a brisk walk is a good place to start. And to keep track of how hard your heart is working during your workout, use the best fitness tracker continuous heart rate monitor you can find.
Also known as resistance training, this type of exercise is particularly effective at reducing body fat and boosting muscle mass, all of which makes it easier for the heart to do its job. Resistance training can also help to reduce bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, improving the efficiency of your vascular system. Two sessions of resistance training a week is ideal, and there’s no need to take out an expensive gym subscription. Working out using hand weights or resistance bands is equally effective, as are simple ‘body resistance’ exercises such as squats or sit-ups.
Stretching, or flexibility workouts don’t in themselves contribute towards heart health, but they provide the foundations for your aerobic and strength work, keeping you flexible and free of joint pain and cramping. Daily stretching, before and after your other exercises is an essential part of your health regime, and it is relatively easy to find a program that works for you. Your doctor may be able to advise you on stretches that you can do at home, and if you’re feeling more adventurous, why not consider joining a Tai Chi or Yoga class to boost your body’s flexibility.
Making a commitment to look after your heart is one of the most important steps you can take towards enjoying a healthy life. Regular exercise can play a major role in protecting and boosting your heart’s health and a regime that balances aerobic, strength and flexibility work will maximize the benefits.
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