Moderate exercise can improve your strength, flexibility, endurance and cardiovascular health. Even though any amount of exercise is beneficial to your health, experts recommend doing a minimum of 75 minutes of aerobic exercise per week for your heart to reap the rewards.
The following exercises improve the way your body uses oxygen and strengthen your heart:
- Interval Training – Combining short bursts of high-intensity exercise with longer periods of active recovery prevents heart disease, diabetes, promotes weight loss and efficiently improves fitness. So, if you focus on taking brisk walks, add one to two minutes of sprints for every five minutes of walking.
- Weight Training – Similar to interval training, weight training increases your heart rate during reps, then you recover in between sets. While machine exercises are helpful, using free weights engages your core and builds balance for extra benefits.
- Swimming – Swimming is a great, total-body, low-impact sport. Because so many muscles are involved in this total-body workout, the heart needs to work harder to fuel them. Other activities, such as rowing and cross-country skiing, provide similar cardiovascular benefits.
- Yoga – Yoga is a calming exercise that burns a lot of calories, lowers blood pressure and promotes heart health. It also strengthens your core.
- Stay active all day – Staying active all day when you have a desk job can be difficult. To combat the negative impact of sitting at a computer, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day and run errands after work to make up for being sedentary.
What Exercises are Bad for your Heart?
There are very few exercises that are actually bad for your heart. However, those who are at risk for a heart attack should avoid any type of vigorous exercise that they haven’t trained for.
Some examples include:
- Running long-distance
- Swimming long-distance
- Shoveling snow for extended periods of time
- Biking more than 20 miles.
Consult your physician for information on keeping your heart healthy through exercise.