Your heart is a muscle, and like all muscles, it needs movement for optimal health. Incorporating regular exercise will open the door to a series of heart healthy benefits
- reduce blood pressure
- lower cholesterol
- improve your blood sugar
- strengthen the heart muscle
- make your heart and brain happy
- deliver the needed oxygen to all parts of your body
- lower stress
So how much and what type of exercise does your heart need..
There are three forms of exercise – cardio, resistance and wellness (yes – doing a meaningful nothing is a form of exercise). It is essential to give your body a cocktail of all three forms of exercise. It is common for someone to enjoy a specific form of exercise and just do that – although any exercise is awesome, performing a variety of fitness activities will allow each aspect of health to be met.
this is the heart pumping activity such as a fast walk, running, aerobics, playing sports…your heart needs 150 minutes per week which is typically broken up into 5 – 30 minute sessions. The key in these exercises is to elevate your heart rate. If you are nowhere near 150 minutes, don’t worry you can get there – start small – sit less, walk more…this can lead to counting steps and trying to hit step count targets – when your are ready, you will hit the gym – maybe just once a week, that will lead to two time, and so forth. Exercise is addictive – you just need to start and the itch will grow!
Resistance training is activity that puts a form of resistance against your muscles. This too can be as simple as an uphill walk, swimming to full weight training. It is suggested that your muscles have a resistance challenge three times per week. By adding resistance you will improve your blood sugar, gain incredible power and strength!
In addition to moving you need to know how to recover – recovery your mind as well as your muscles. It may not seem that wellness exercises are a direct link to your heart, but they are just as powerful as the other forms. Wellness activities are such a challenge for people to incorporate, most people can’t seem to relax (and those are the people that need it most). Wellness activities should be performed on a daily basis – ranging from deep breathing, 10 minute relaxation apps, stretch or yoga as active recovery.
I encourage everyone to know your exercise starting point and find a way to build from that! Exercise will change your life for the better – you can only regret not exercising – no one has ever regretting doing it!