How Does Exercise Promote Heart Health?

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Exercise can benefit heart health.

The heart is an incredible muscle.

Although its sole purpose is pumping oxygenated blood to fuel the cells in the rest of the body and then return the deoxygenated blood to the lungs to be oxygenated again, the heart affects the health of the whole body.

Without oxygen, all body systems will fail.

According to a recent VeryWell Health article titled “3 Best Exercises for Heart Health,” heart health truly is a matter of life or death.

Heart health is promoted through exercise.
Bicycling can benefit heart health.

What does this mean?

Taking care of your heart should be of utmost importance.

One way to support heart health is through physical activity and exercise.

It can help prevent heart conditions and manage existing cardiovascular conditions.

How does exercise benefit cardiovascular health?

Regular physical activity can improve lung function and the strength of the heart muscle.

It can lower high cholesterol, blood pressure, high triglycerides, and high blood sugar.

Exercise can also reduce C-reactive protein levels.

Chronic conditions elevate this protein.

When physical activity impacts these areas of the body, the risk of heart disease and heart attack is decreased.

Incorporating three types of exercise into your routine is best.

These are stretching, strength training, and aerobic exercise.

Stretching helps to reduce injury from other forms of exercise.

The purpose of strength training is to use resistance to increase muscle strength.

Resistance can be provided through resistance bands, weights, and personal body weight.

How can one use personal body weight?

This involves the traditional movements of stretching, lunges, pull-ups, and push-ups.

Aerobic exercise strengthens the lungs and the heart and improves their efficiency.

Hiking, walking, running, jumping rope, swimming, bicycling, dancing, and strength training are all examples of aerobic exercise where breathing rate and heartbeat speed increase.

Even so, all exercises are not equally beneficial for cardiovascular health.

According to the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association, the vigorous nature and amount of the activity are important.

Optimal heart health is promoted, and the risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is lowered with 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of vigorous and moderate physical activity each week.

What are examples of physical activity at different intensity levels?

Light housework, cooking, and slow walking are examples of light intensity.

Moderate-intensity physical activity includes bicycling between 5 and 9 mph, brisk walking between 2.4 and 4.0 mph, dancing, recreational swimming, active yoga, gardening, raking leaves, and vacuuming.

Jogging, hiking, running, bicycling at or greater than 10 mph, jumping rope, swimming laps, weightlifting, aerobics, snow shoveling, and stair climbing are all types of vigorous-intensity exercise.

If you have fewer than 10 minutes of time to exercise in a day but can exercise 10 minutes or more other days in the week, you can still benefit from physical activity.

The guidelines underscore the value of the weekly physical activity totals rather than the length of each exercise session.

What if you cannot exercise for the full recommended times?

Unless your doctor advises against physical activity for medical concerns, any exercise is better for your heart health than no physical activity.

Finally, if weight loss is one of your fitness goals, remember that you cannot outwork your fork.

Reference: VeryWell Health (Dec. 16, 2021) “3 Best Exercises for Heart Health”

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