Exercise for a healthy heart- it’s one of the safest and most effective ways to prevent and treat heart disease! Research has also shown that leading a sedentary lifestyle (a lifestyle where you remain seated or still and exert almost no physical exercise the majority of your days) is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. In other words, the more you sit the greater your risk! While it may seem overwhelming to try and find time in your already busy day to fit in regular physical activity, know that every little bit will count! I’m going to share with you the benefits of exercise for a healthy heart, and how to exercise for a healthy heart!
What are the benefits of exercise for a healthy heart?
· Lower blood pressure. Exercise slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure at rest and during exercise- yes, you get your heart up while exercising, that is how you train your heart to be stronger which will lead to a lower resting heart rate and a lower heart rate while you exercise. With high blood pressure being a major risk factor for heart disease, this is an important benefit!
· Reduce chronic inflammation. As you continue to exercise for a healthy heart and body regularly, your body will adapt to exercise eventually creating a reduction in chronic inflammation. This lowered inflammation helps protect your heart, among lots of other things, and prevents disease.
· Help with body fat reduction and weight management. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and healthy eating will help decrease stress on the heart. Excess weight is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The more weight you carry, the higher your risk factor- exercise for a healthy heart and a healthy body will increase your quality of life.
· Improve HDL cholesterol levels in your blood. Regular exercise can help increase the “good” cholesterol in your blood which will help prevent coronary heart disease.
· Prevent and help reverse type 2 Diabetes. Physical activity improves your body’s ability to manage blood sugar by more effectively using glucose and insulin. The more you exercise for a healthy heart the more benefits you will see and feel- think: less time at the doctor’s office, fewer prescription meds, more time with family and friends!
· Lower stress. Any of your favorite exercises will help to reduce stress hormones which can wreak havoc on your heart. While sometimes we can’t control the amount of stress placed on us, we can control how we handle it. Exercise for a healthy heart and stress reduction is one of the most powerful tools you can carry with you.
· Make your heart stronger. Cardio training and strength training help to strengthen the heart so it does not have to work as hard to circulate blood. A stronger heart will help you build a stronger body. Exercise for a healthy heart is sounding pretty incredible, right?
How much should your exercise for a healthy heart?
Start with 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 days a week for a total of 150 minutes of exercise a week (this is the American Heart Association’s minimum recommendation for heart health). This could include brisk walking, swimming, dancing, and biking. As your stamina increases, you can work towards 300 minutes (60 minutes for five days) a week of activity for even greater healthy heart rewards!
Here are some simple activities you can add into your day to boost heart health – think of these as bonus heart health points!
•Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
•Park your car at the far end of a parking lot.
•Wear a fitness tracker and work up to 10,000 steps a day.
•Take a walk on your lunch break.
•Set an alarm on your phone to stand up and move every hour you are sitting.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the simple yet effective ways you can exercise for a healthy heart. Remember- everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t compare yourself to others, just focus on improving yourself and soon enough you’ll be making great strides on your own health and wellness journey. We’re always here at PFC if you need anything- don’t be afraid to reach out!