Five Exercises That Boost Your Heart Health

February is American Heart Month, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to review a few simple exercises that can boost the health of this vital organ. The sad fact is that nearly one in three deaths each year in the United States is caused by heart disease or stroke, and it’s thought that 200,000 of these could have been prevented.

One of the best ways to prevent heart disease or stroke is through exercise. With that in mind, our team here at Lafferty Family Care, under the guidance of Dr. Scott Lafferty, pulled together the following information, including five exercises to help boost your heat health.

Heart health rules of thumb

If the thought of a grueling exercise regimen seems daunting, we want to first point out that the general rule of thumb isn’t all that hard to accomplish. The American Heart Association recommends that you get at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity a week, which only amounts to two-and-a-half hours. Unfortunately, only about one in five adults and teenagers reaches this recommended number.

The 150 minutes should be spent engaged in moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or you can shoot for 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity. You can even combine the two and aim for a duration between 75 and 150 minutes.

Five great exercises for your heart health

Now that we understand the overall goals, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can reach them.

1. Walk it out

Walking is one of the best ways to exercise during the day, and you can work it into your daily routine very easily. For example, start your day with a spin around the neighborhood — even just 15 minutes. Then, throughout the day, try to add more walking, such as parking your car farther from the entrance of the store. If you have a SmartPhone or step-tracking device, you can monitor your daily step count to make sure you’re covering enough ground (2,000 steps is about a mile).

2. Take to the water

If achy joints get in the way of walking or running, why not try swimming, which is a fantastic aerobic exercise? There are plenty of public pools in gyms or other centers where you can swim year-round.

If you’re uncomfortable in the water, another great technique that doesn’t tax your joints is a rowing machine.

3. Get on a bike

Biking is one of the best ways to get around and get some exercise. Whether you opt for a mountain bike, road bike, or an all-around cruiser, any type of pedaling gives your heart a great workout. If you’re worried about balance, try a trike or an indoor stationary bike.

4. Build muscles

While aerobic exercise is great for your heart health, we also recommend that you spend some time strengthening your muscles. More specifically, resistance training is one of the best ways to boost your metabolism and get rid of dangerous belly fat.

5. Stretch it out

While you may not think of yoga as “exercise,” this approach to fitness can do wonders for your health, including your heart health. Through yoga, you not only strengthen and stretch your muscles, you can also lower your blood pressure as yoga emphasizes calmness.

If you’re unsure where to start, our team offers a cardiac prevention assessment program, which helps us evaluate your risks so that we can come up with a heart-healthy plan that’s right for you. You can make an appointment to visit our office in Bentonville, Arkansas. Simply contact us here to get started.

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