Recommended Heart Healthy Exercises
Exercise can strengthen your muscles and improve your ability to use oxygen. Exercise can also improve vascular function (the ability of your blood vessels to react to hormones and increased oxygen needs), improve bone health and reduce the chances of disability in older people.
If you are sedentary, the most important thing you can do is talk to your doctor about starting a simple routine of daily activity. Different types of exercise can improve heart health in different ways.
Aerobic activity is a great way to strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system. Any exercise or activity that raises your heart rate and that you can perform for extended periods of time is considered aerobic activity - and exercise reduces the risk of heart disease. Examples are brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, dancing, household chores and sports such as soccer and tennis. Benefits of aerobic activity include:
- Strengthens muscle of the respiratory system, improving the body's ability to use oxygen
- Strengthens the heart muscle
- Increases muscle size and improves muscle tone, which helps maintain a healthy body weight
Strength training refers to exercises or activities that use resistance or lifting to build muscles. When you build lean muscle mass, it is easier to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Lifting weights is the most common way to perform strength training exercise. But any activity where you use large muscle groups in repetition to build muscle mass is considered strength training. Exercises such as deep knee bends, lunges and push-ups can build muscles without the use of weights.