3 sorts of exercise that boost heart health
Being physically active may be a major step towards good heart health. It’s one among your most effective tools for strengthening your heart muscle, keeping your weight in restraint , and preventing artery damage from high cholesterol, high blood glucose , and high vital sign that can lead to heart attack or stroke.
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It is also true that different types of exercise are needed to ensure complete fitness. “Aerobic exercise and resistance training are most vital for heart health,” says Johns Hopkins physiologist Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D. “Although flexibility doesn’t directly contribute to heart health, it’s still important because it provides a good foundation for performing aerobic and strength exercises more effectively.”
Here’s how differing types of exercise benefit you.
What it does: Aerobic exercise improves circulation, which results in lower blood pressure and heart rate, says Stewart. It also increases your overall aerobic fitness, as measured by a stress test for example, and helps your flow (how well your heart pumps). aerobics also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and helps control blood glucose levels if you already have diabetes.
How Much: Ideally a minimum of 30 minutes a day, a minimum of five days a week.
Examples: Brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis and jumping rope. Heart-pumping aerobics is the kind doctors have in mind when they recommend at least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity.
Resistance training (strength work)
What it does: Resistance training features a more specific effect on body composition, says Stewart. It can help people that carry a lot of body fat (including a large belly, which may be a risk factor for heart disease) lose fat and build leaner muscle mass. Research shows that a mixture of aerobic and resistance exercise can help raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
How Much: According to the American College of medicine , an honest rule of thumb is at least two non-consecutive days per week.
Examples: Exercise with free weights (such as hand weights, barbells, or barbells), on weight machines, with resistance bands, or using body resistance exercises like push-ups, squats, and pull-ups.
Stretching, flexibility and balance
What they do: Flexibility exercises like stretching don’t directly contribute to heart health. What they are doing is benefit musculoskeletal health, allowing you to remain flexible and free from joint pain, cramps and other muscle problems. That flexibility may be a critical part of being able to sustain aerobic exercise and resistance training, Stewart says.
“If you’ve got a good musculoskeletal foundation, it allows you to try to to exercises that help your heart,” she says. As a bonus, flexibility and balance exercises help maintain stability and stop falls that can cause injuries that limit other types of exercise.
How much: Every day and before and after other exercise.
Examples: Your doctor may recommend basic stretching exercises that you simply can do at home, otherwise you may find DVDs or YouTube videos to watch (but check with your doctor if you’re concerned about the intensity of the exercise). t’ai chi and yoga also improve these skills, and classes are available in many communities.
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