Heart Healthy Exercises For American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, which means it’s time to recognize the best ways to keep our heart’s healthy and bring awareness to heart disease!

Here are some great and easy exercises that are AWESOME for your heart health!

Interval training: This is unrivaled for preventing heart disease and diabetes, losing weight, and efficiently improving fitness. The strategy: Combine short bursts of high-intensity exercise with slightly longer periods of active recovery. So if you’re a walker, you might alternate 3 minutes at normal speed with 1 minute at a brisk pace. Continuously raising and lowering your heart rate improves vascular function, burns calories, and makes the body more efficient at clearing fat and sugar from the blood.

Total-body, nonimpact sports: The more muscles involved in an activity, the harder your heart must work to fuel them all—thus, it grows stronger itself. Rowing, swimming, cross-country skiing, walking with poles…all recruit muscles throughout the body without beating it up. Add some intervals and you have the ideal workout.

Weight training: In a sense, this is just another form of interval training. You increase your heart rate during reps and recover between sets. By efficiently handling the demands placed upon them, strong muscles ease the overall burden on the heart. Use free weights, which recruit more muscles, engage your core, and build balance.

Core workouts: We love Pilates, which strengthens core muscles and improves flexibility and balance. In order to exercise vigorously—as well as carry groceries upstairs and weed the garden—you need a solid foundation.

Yoga: The calm it provides lowers blood pressure, making blood vessels more elastic and promoting heart health. It also strengthens your core.

Being active all day: People who are active in little ways the entire day (cleaning, gardening, running errands) burn more calories and are generally healthier than those who exercise for 30 to 60 minutes and then sit at a computer. Wear a pedometer to measure how active you are outside of your exercise time.

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