Spring Movement to Keep Your Heart Healthy for Summer
Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2019
One vital component to help keep your heart healthy is exercise. Just like other muscles, your heart is strengthened with everyday physical activity. Before summer hits, use this time to become and stay active to help promote your heart’s health through exercise.
Benefits of Exercise
As you’re likely aware, there are many benefits that come from regular exercise. It will help your immune system, is great for your bones and muscles, can keep body fat at bay, improve your sleep quality, decrease your odds of chronic illnesses, and also can help to boost your brain and memory. Best of all, it helps to keep your heart healthy which has even more benefits!
- Good cholesterol (HDL) can increase. HDL helps to lower risk for heart disease by flushing out bad cholesterol (LDL) that might be hardening and calcifying in your arteries.
- Increased stamina. This not only occurs during sports but also in all arenas that require prolonged or extra effort. It can help your body draw more oxygen from your blood while you keep your breath.
- High-efficiency heart. When your heart gets into better and better shape, it will push more precious blood when it beats. This ends up slowing your heartbeat and can be a key factor in reducing your blood pressure (though heredity also plays a role in high/low blood pressure).
- The blood will flow more easily in the smaller blood vessels that surround your heart. These are the arteries that often clog and can lead to a heart attack. Exercise, especially something regular, helps the blood flow through these more freely.
So how does one accomplish all of these heart-healthy tasks? It doesn’t require a gym membership, running a Spartan race, or signing up for every 5k you see. However, the occasional 5k is a fantastic way to get a lot of exercise in a short amount of time, with proper training, of course.
The first step is to make sure your heart and body are up to the task. That begins with your doctor. She can evaluate your cholesterol, blood pressure, and even perform an EKG test to see how your ticker is. As the weather gets warmer, it’s the perfect time to get into better shape. Not a time to hold yourself to some insanely high standard. But a time to improve your well-being and make a lifestyle change.
Examples of Heart-Happy Physical Activities
- Walking – This one’s easy. It’s recommended to get about 10,000 steps per day, though that may seem hard, even at a moderate pace, you can get 5,000 steps in an hour. Between a dedicated hour and your typical walking throughout the day, you should be able to get your goal easily. Start with a reasonable goal of 7-8,000 steps, and work your way up from there.
- Biking – You’ll need the required equipment of a bicycle and helmet, of course. You can maintain a leisurely pace of fewer than 10 miles an hour, and still burn a ton of calories in a half hour. This not only works your largest muscle group (your quads!), but it also allows your heart to increase its rate and pump oxygenated blood to vital parts.
- Aqua-aerobics. It’s easy on the joints, can help increase lean muscle and reduce fat, all while upping your heart rate.
- Tending the garden. While gardening isn’t a super high cardio activity, there are quite a few excellent exercises involved (if done properly) in doing it. Kneeling down to plant, sow, and water your plants is basically just squatting. Spreading mulch is actually one of the hardest parts of gardening. Of course, you can spread pine straw, too, but you won’t burn as much fat.
Start Small & Work Your Way Up
It’s ok to start slowly. But you must start. For you, for your family – for your heart. There are many more activities aside from these to enjoy as well. Most doctors will tell you if there is something physical you enjoy doing, then do it! It’s great to start small and work your way to more strenuous exercises. Don’t get discouraged by naysayers and especially not by numbers on a scale. All that matters is that you are getting out there and trying.