Food and Exercise

Choosing the Best Exercise for Your Heart

For years, people have focused on aerobic activity to improve heart health.  And while it’s true that this type of exercise specifically targets the heart, it’s also true that the heart can be affected by the total health of your entire body.  That means that you need to target all areas of fitness in order to keep your heart running at its optimum.

 There are three major types of exercise you need to incorporate into your fitness routine in order to get total body health.  Let’s start with the most obvious – cardiovascular exercise.

 Cardiovascular exercise includes aerobic activity that keeps the heart rate up for at least ten minutes at a time.  This builds endurance. Activities such as jogging, walking, bicycling, and swimming fall into this category.

All of these exercises help you by increasing your heart rate and strengthening the heart muscles and blood vessels.  They also help your lungs to work more efficiently.  It’s recommended that people participate in at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity every day.

 Resistance training, which builds strength, is next.  These are exercises that focus on strengthening your muscles.  When your muscles are strong, you have fewer problems with pain and injury.  You also have more muscle tissue, which burns at a higher metabolic rate and helps to keep you lean.

 Exercises like sit ups, push-ups and weight training are strength building.  It’s recommended that you participate in this type of activity two to three times a week. This type of exercise can be stressful for the heart if you overexert yourself.

You need to make sure and check with a physician before you start any exercise program. The final type of exercise helps to improve your flexibility.  This helps you to prevent injury, but it also helps you to reduce your physical stress levels.

This really helps to improve your heart health as well.  You can do this by stretching or participating in yoga.  You should participate in some type of flexibility exercises at least two to three times a week, and daily is even better.

Keeping your total body healthy will help to keep your heart healthy.  While some exercises specifically target the heart, other exercises support the heart by taking care of the health of your whole body.

Again, before you start any exercise program, you need to make sure that you’re healthy enough to participate in it.  Make sure to check with your doctor.



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