How to Strengthen and Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
February is Heart Health month, and it’s the perfect time to share tips for how to improve heart health. Taking care of your heart can help prevent cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of men and women in the US. According to Dr. Kerry J. Stewart of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, “Exercise…helps…control or modify many of the risk factors for heart disease.” Don’t minimize the importance of cardiovascular health. You have one heart. Take good care of it!
How to Make Your Heart Stronger (and Improve Your Life!)
Because your heart is a muscle, it needs exercise to help it pump blood efficiently. Muscles that are not used regularly lose strength and stamina, affecting function. Learn how to strengthen your heart with exercise, and enjoy a longer, healthier life!
A regular heart exercise routine can help:
- improve the muscles’ ability to pull oxygen from the blood, which reduces the load on the heart
- reduce stress hormones that may put an extra burden on the heart
- slow the heart rate
- increase good cholesterol (HDL) and control triglycerides
- reduce inflammation
- lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, dementia and several types of cancer
- improve sleep, bone health and balance
- reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
You can’t control your genetics, environmental pollution and certain sources of stress. But you can control your diet, whether or not you smoke, your activity level and your supplementation-all of which can help you stave off heart disease and promote cardiovascular health.
Exercise is something nearly everyone can do to strengthen the heart muscle and improve cardio health. Just 20 minutes a day can make a big impact in your life, your health and your longevity.
Did You Know?
- According to the American Heart Association, only about one in five adults and teens gets enough exercise to maintain good health.
- Being more active helps people think, feel and sleep better and perform daily tasks more easily.
- Your risk of heart disease and strokeincreases 50% if you are physically inactive.
Which cardiovascular exercises are best for the heart?
Exercise is importantto improving heart health. Strengthen your heart, body and lungs with a fitness program that includes aerobic exercise (like jogging, biking, swimming) and resistance training (weightlifting or exercise bands). This combination offers the best benefits for heart health.
- Walking is the easiest form of movement. All you need is good shoes! If you don’t know where else to start, start by walking!
- Swimming works out the whole body, including the heart, lungs and all major muscle groups. It may be one of the best all-around exercises for people who want to stay physically active. Time your first swim session; then add 1-2 minutes onto each successive swim until you get to at least 30 minutes.
- Cycling. Get a good bike and helmet and start pedaling. Don’t try to do too much too fast, just enjoy getting out and moving. You could even get an exercise bike for the home so you can’t come up with excuses not to exercise.
- Yard work offers a decent workout. Digging, planting, raking, mowing and watering plants gets you moving and sweating.
- Weightlifting strengthens muscles and bones, and it doesn’t require a home gym or a rack of weights. Heavy gardening, carrying groceries, chopping wood and other chores will provide the resistance you need.
Does cardiovascular exercise prevent heart attacks?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a number of studies have shown that regular exercise makes people less likely to suffer a sudden heart attack or other life-threatening cardiac event. Combining exercise with a healthy diet offers even more powerful disease prevention!
How much physical exercise do you need to keep your heart healthy?
Any time you can spend moving (vs. sitting) will benefit your heart and your health. Try to work up to 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity activity each week. Examples of such heart-healthy exercises include brisk walking, tennis, biking, ballroom or social dancing, and water aerobics. This type of physical activity warms you up, makes you breathe harder and gets your heart rate going. But you should still be able to have a conversation. If you can’t talk while you’re exercising, you’ve moved beyond moderate to high-intensity activity.
Fitness Facts: Walking for as little as 30 minutes a day helps:
- Prevent heart disease
- Lower your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke
- Build stronger immunity
- Reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure
- Reduce stress, tension, depression and anxiety
- Control weight
- Improve overall health and well-being
Can too much exercise be bad for your heart?
As long as you use good judgment and listen to your body, it’s difficult to over-exercise in terms of your heart health. Fatigue or soreness that lasts longer than a day or two after heart exercise is an indication that you have overdone it. Any lasting pain could be the result of injury and should be addressed. This is more likely to occur in a joint than to manifest itself in your heart muscle. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor before beginning a major exercise regimen.
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- CardioxLDL®. Our unique, clinically studied antioxidant blend with bergamot modulates LDL cholesterol oxidation and supports trigylceride levels.
- Solstic Cardio features l-arginine to support cardiovascular health and boost energy levels.
- Rejuvenaid™ combines l-arginine with red beet root and other high-antioxidant botanicals to support healthy blood flow, improve energy levels, increase stamina and exercise capacity, support blood pressure and more.
- CoQ10 supports heart health, cardio function, energy production and blood pressure levels already within the normal range.
- Super Omega-3 EPA provides EPA and DHA essential fatty acids for super cardio support and brain health.