How A Healthy Heart Can Dramatically Increase Your Quality Of Life
Despite all of the positive benefits that we know about regular exercise, according to the American Heart Association nearly 70% of Americans don’t get enough. In turn, inactivity and a lack of exercise is one of the major risk factors for developing coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD is caused by deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, calcium and other substances in the inner lining of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This build up eventually makes the arteries more narrow or even blocked, preventing the oxygen-rich blood from reaching the heart. Over time, CAD will weaken the heart muscle and ultimately result in chest pain, a heart attack, or heart failure.
While CAD is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, it’s also very preventable through lifestyle changes like exercise and diet.
Just Making Exercise A Regular Part Of Your Lifestyle Can Result In:
- Strengthened heart and cardiovascular system
- Improved circulation/oxygen use
- Increased energy levels
- Increased endurance
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced stress
- Improved muscle tone and strength
- Improved balance and joint flexibility
- Stronger bones
- Healthy body weight
- Improved sleep
- Increased self-esteem
The 5 Best Activities For Strengthening Your Heart
Ideally you should aim for a well-rounded fitness program that incorporates a wide variety of exercises. Without variety, the body has an amazing way of adapting to movement. As a general rule, when something becomes easy to complete, you’ll want to increase the intensity or progress to more advanced exercises to keep it challenging. I highly suggest a program that incorporates the following:
1. Interval Training
This is when you alternate short bursts of higher intensity exercises with a low-intensity recovery period. Intervals can be incorporated into a wide variety of ways….walking, running, biking, rowing, treadmills, weights, etc.
2. Strength Training
Aim for a total body strength routine using your bodyweight, resistance bands, free-weights or any combination of the three.
3. Avoid Long Periods of Sitting
Recent studies clearly show that even the fittest of people are negatively affected by sitting for long periods of time. You need to move all day long, even in non-exercise activities. Set a timer to go off every 10-15 minutes as a reminder to get up and move around for a minute or two.
4. Focus on Your Core
The core muscles (consisting of approximately 25+ muscles throughout your back, abdomen and pelvis) provide the foundation for movement throughout the entire body. Keeping them strong and functioning properly will allow you to move the way your body was meant to and prevent debilitating back injuries that could prevent you from being able to exercise.
Keeping the muscles and joints of the body flexible and mobile will help prevent injuries and aid in the body’s ability to move and function properly.