Any exercise that gets you moving, increases your strength and gets your heart pumping and blood flowing is important for your heart health.
We should all be aiming to do 30 minutes at least 5 times a week. While this may seem daunting at first, we find that breaking it down into smaller task can help you maintain your regime. How about aiming for 3 hours a week? This can be 3 x 1 hour sessions or 6 x 30 minute sessions.
Benefits of Exercise
It helps burn calories
Helps with weight loss
Lowers blood pressure
Reduces LDL ”Bad cholesterol’ and increases HDL ”Good” cholesterol.
But what exercises are good for heart health? Let’s take a look!
1. Lane Swimming
Why not hit the pool for a workout? Do the number of lengths you’re comfortable doing, rest for minute, then repeat. Each session, try aim for increase number of lengths. Alternate between front crawl to breast stroke. Swimming is a great for a whole body workout. Aiming for 30-40 minutes is ideal.
2. Interval Walking
Another fantastic exercise is interval walking. Gradually build up to 30-60 minutes of interval walking 5 days a week. Walk at a normal pace for 2 minutes, followed by a faster pace for 2 minutes. If you are inactive person, you can alternate between walk and jog for interval training. Taking part in walking clubs, or couch to 5km clubs can be a great motivation and support if you are new to exercising!
3. Circuit Training
Circuit Training Taking part in a circuit training class is a great way to incorporate many different forms of exercises in one session. Circuit training is one of the best exercise classes for heart health as you will definitely increase your heart rate and it tends to work on many muscle groups.
4. Weight Training
Weight training is really important for heart health. In addition to building muscle mass, which will help you burn fat, weight training is also good for bone health and your heart. You can either use weights, but make sure to start at a low weight and work up to a higher weight. You may need a personal trainer if you are new to weight training. You can also use your own body weight e.g. push ups
Interval running is better for cardiovascular health than running at a steady pace. All you need is 10 second bursts of speed running for effect. Work up to 10 intervals. You need to work hard enough to get out of breath and then take a rest period until you’re ready for your next burst.
Cycling improves heart health. According to the British Medical Association, cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%. 30-60 minutes is recommended.
7. Hill Walking
If you love the outdoors, hill walking is ideal for you. Hill walking increases the number of calories you burn compared to walking alone as it forces the muscles to do more work. Try to find a Hill Walking Club in your area.
Yoga is a great stress buster and has been shown to have many heart health benefits – it can help lower blood pressure, improve respiratory function and heart rate, and boost circulation while also providing strength building benefits. You can download an app or youtube video to guide you through a routine.
Again, pilates is a great stress buster. It also helps boost circulation, improve lung and heart function, and provides strength building benefits. If you have back issues, look out for a pilates class that focuses on strengthening the core and suitable for people with back issues
10. Exercise Class
There is a never ending list of exercise classes to choose from. Zumba, kettlebells, Spinning, Hip Hop, Aerobics, Boxing, Aqua Aerobics. HIIT, Step and Tone classes.