Knowing how much you should exercise in order to be heart healthy can be tricky however a good goal for heart health is to get around 150 minutes of exercise per week. Begin with just 10 to 15 minutes of light exercise and then increase your time and difficulty level slowly. Taking a brisk walk is always a good way to start.
There is no point in denying the fact that regular exercise can keep your heart in top notch condition. Still the question looms large – how much should you exercise for complete heart health? How much is too much? As a matter of fact; knowing how much you should exercise in order to be heart healthy can be tricky however a good goal for heart health is to get around 150 minutes of exercise per week.
It goes without saying that any amount of exercise is better than staying inactive however for complete heart health the AHA – American Heart Association recommends – Daily 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise.
Regular Exercise Helps In
- Maintaining normal weight
- Increasing metabolism
- Reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes
- Relieving stress and anxiety
- Improving your mood
- Promoting better sleep
- Increasing energy level & overall quality of life
Needless to say; it may take time to work up to the recommended amount of exercise however it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor and ask how much exercise is right for you before you get started.
Types of Exercise
Aerobic exercise: It improves heart and lung fitness. Aerobic exercise is one of the most important heart friendly work outs that helps in moving the large muscles and causes you to deep breathe. Simply put; this makes your heart work harder to pump blood thus improving the health of your lungs and heart.
As already briefed, AHA recommends daily 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise. However; if you cannot exercise in 30 minutes and all at once, you may also divide your exercise regime into small 10/ 15 minute segments
Aerobic Exercise May Include
- Cross-country skiing
Resistance training: This kind of exercises help in strengthening the muscles. Alongside building muscle strength, resistance training also helps in improving balance, strengthening the bones and in increasing metabolism.
In Order To Do Resistance Training You May Use
- Free weights – such as bar bells/dumb bells
- Resistance bands
- Your own body weight (Yoga)
- Weight machines
Here Are 8 Great Heart-Friendly Exercises
Walk A Few Kilometers For Heart Health: Walking is the number 1 aerobic exercise for optimal heart health. After all walking is safe, enjoyable and can be easily adjusted to anyone’s busy day. Get creative with your walking time. You can walk to work, walk to the grocery store or simply walk around the neighborhood.
Climb Stairs For Heart Health: Aim to reach between 50 and 85% of your maximum heart rate in order to achieve maximum heart health benefit. In fact; climbing stairs stand as an easy way to get into your target range of heart rate. So how can you count your maximum heart rate? Here’s an easy math – subtract your age from 220 to identify your maximum heart rate. Remember; if you can carry out a conversation while exercising without feeling too exhausted and out of breath, you can assume that you are in your target heart rate.
Go For A Bicycle Ride: That’s right; the pumping motion of the leg’s large muscle is a great aerobic exercise. If you are not too keen for a road bike or trip, a stationary bike exercise regime may also work. You can pedal at home or at gym on a stationary bike.
Take A Swim And Your Heart Will Thank You: Yes, swimming is one of the best and most popular aerobic exercises. Swim for just 2 hours a week and it will give you all the aerobic heart health benefits that you may need. Swimming puts less stress on bones and joints so starting a swimming regime is especially beneficial if you have arthritis or other joint conditions.
Utilize The Elliptical Training Machines: These machines are the popular aerobic exercise options. The overall advantage of elliptical machine is that it renders both an upper- and lower-body workout all at once.
Dance to Keep Your Heart Happy and Healthy: That’s right; dance your way to complete heart health. All you need is some music, good footwear and some space. Remember; a typical aerobic beat should be about 120 to 135 beats per minute
Try Tai Chi To Chill Out: As per a recent survey done by the “National Institutes of Health” – 2.3 million adults in the US has used ‘tai chi’ as typically a low-impact aerobic exercise routine. Tai chi, the age old Chinese form of exercise is based on martial arts. Tai Chi uses very slow but rhythmic body movements coupled concentration and deep breathing. This is a great exercise routine for body, mind and heart health.
Splash in Water and Do Some Water Aerobics: Just like its cousin swimming, water aerobics also offers heart health benefits without causing much stress on your bone and joint area.
So; what’s The Best Exercise?
There is no one word answer to this as the term ‘best exercise’ is case specific and it depends on individual’s fitness and cardio vascular health. The best exercise is the one that suits your physical limitations and heart health. To put simply; the exercise, you enjoy doing is the one to start with. Needless to say; you may be benefitted from a combination of aerobic and resistance training; however the most important thing to do is to simply start exercising.
AHA has made its own recommendations for heart-healthy exercise, and as already briefed it typically involves a combination of aerobic and resistance training.
For Heart Health
- 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for 5 days a week
- 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity for 3 days a week and 75 minutes of a combination of moderate- and vigorous aerobic activity
For Lowering Cholesterol and BP
Where to Start With?
Talk with your doctor to get started. This is especially important if you are not so active or if you have health problems or if you are elderly or pregnant.
Also; start out slowly. Begin with just 10 to 15 minutes of light exercise and then increase your time and difficulty level slowly. Taking a brisk walk is always a good way to start.