Pump Up Your Day With These Heart-Healthy Exercises
Since it’s in charge of keeping blood flowing to all other muscles and organs, your heart is arguably the most important muscle in your body. Similar to your other muscles, it can become stronger the more you make it work, so our experts at Midwest Express Clinic have put together tips and guidelines to keep your ticker in shape.
Types of exercises and how much to do per week
According to the American Heart Association, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity spread throughout the week. That comes out to be about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Alternatively, 75 minutes, or 25 minutes a day three days a week, of vigorous aerobic activity is also sufficient.
Aerobics, also known as cardio, are exercises aimed at increasing your heart rate and getting you to break a sweat. This can boost your circulation, leading to a lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as improve your heart’s ability to pump. Depending on your fitness level, a mix of moderate and vigorous exercises is a great way to keep workouts interesting.
Moderate-intensity activities include:
- Brisk walk
- Leisurely swim or water aerobics
- Biking on flat terrain or a stationary bike
- Pushing a lawn mower
Vigorous activities include:
- Jogging or running
- Swimming laps
- Biking or hiking uphill
- Jumping rope
- Jumping jacks
The American Heart Association also recommends adding muscle strengthening activities two to three days a week for optimal health. A regular exercise routine that includes both aerobics and strength training can help raise good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. You’ll want to do a full body workout, hitting all the major muscle groups on nonconsecutive days.
Strength training exercises include:
- Lifting free weights
Stretching is a vital part of every workout and should be done both before and after. When stretching before a workout make sure to continuously move, instead of holding a static position as you would during a cool down, so you can warm up your muscles. Stretching is beneficial to your musculoskeletal health, which is the foundation that enables you to complete heart-healthy exercises.
Moves you can do anywhere
Whether you’re short on time or limited on space, these simple exercises can be done anytime anywhere to get your heart pumping and build strength in your legs and core. If you can’t dedicate a full 30 minutes on a certain day to exercise, you can do these quick moves a few times throughout the day get your body moving and help you feel energized.
- High knees with arm raises – Reach both of your arms above your head while also bringing one knee up so it is even with your waist. As you place a knee down also lower your arms. Continue in marching motion until you’ve raised each leg 10 times. To make this moderate exercise vigorous, try running in place while doing the high-knee movement.
- Chair squats – Start in a sitting position with your feet on the ground as wide apart as your hips, then stand up. Then squat back down into the chair just enough to tap your glutes on the seat. Keep your core tight as you do this 10 times.
- Heart stretching power pose – To finish off this micro workout, end with a standing stretch. Breathe in as you clasp your hands and reach them above your head, palms facing up, while arching your back. Breathe out as you release your hands and lower your arms. Do this slowly five times. If you have decent balance, try leaning backward slightly as you arch your back until you feel the stretch in your glutes.
Midwest Express Clinic: Your partner in heart health
No matter your fitness level, if you’re looking to improve your heart health, Midwest Express Clinic is here to help. We’re happy to give advice on additional exercises and stretches you can do, as well as other lifestyle changes you can make to keep your heart healthy and strong. Check in online to one of our convenient locations to meet with a provider today!