Did you know that the average heart beats approximately 2.5 billion times in a lifetime? This organ works incredibly hard every day and it is important to treat it with lots of love and care. This involves following heart-healthy habits, such as eating well, exercising, not smoking, and trying to minimize stress. We spoke with Elizabeth Claude, MD FACCboard-certified cardiologist, author, speaker, founder of the Preventive Cardiology Clinic near Minneapolis, Minnesota, and founder and chief medical officer of Step One Foods, and learned some simple fitness tips to improve your heart health.
Show your heart some love and learn the best ways to take care of it through fitness. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), moderate to vigorous exercise, done regularly, increases the strength of your heart muscle. By doing so, you will improve your heart’s ability to pump blood throughout your body. When your heart is functioning at its best, more blood will reach your muscles and the oxygen level in your blood will increase.
So if you’re ready to update your workout routine, keep reading to learn some simple fitness tips to improve your heart health. And when you’re done, don’t forget to check out these 4 Heart-Healthy Foods a Cardiologist Eats.
Dr. Klodas emphasizes the importance of exercising daily. “Just do something! Any amount of exercise is better than no activity at all,” she emphasizes. “Moving from the couch to even modest activity is associated with a significant reduction in heart disease.”6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
Some effective ways to improve your routine include parking farther away to take extra steps when running errands, cycling around town (if you live close enough), and taking your dog for a few extra walks instead of leaving your dog exit from the back. door! You can even invest in a treadmill under your desk if you work from home and attach ankle weights to burn extra calories. Be creative, because the possibilities are endless when it comes to adding extra physical activity to your day.
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There are many opportunities to add aerobic exercise to your day. Dr. Klodas explains: “Moving your body through space by walking, cycling, dancing, rowing, etc. helps reduce blood pressure and improve your cholesterol profile. »
And research confirms the benefits of this form of exercise! According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical AssociationHeart failure patients improved their health and quality of life by performing aerobic exercise (cycling or walking) three to five times a week for a period of three years.
You probably know that incorporating strength training into your routine is crucial if you want to live a long, healthy, independent life, especially when it comes to building and maintaining muscle mass. But did you know the connection between strength training and heart health?
Some research shows that lifting weights may protect you more from heart disease compared to cardiovascular exercise. In fact, according to an Iowa State University study, spending less than an hour each week lifting weights can reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack by 40 to 70 percent!
“Strength training can improve your cholesterol profile and is especially important for helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which has many important downstream effects,” Dr. Klodas tells us.
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Getting physical activity every day is a great way to relieve stress. “Stress can contribute not only to high blood pressure, but also to acute events like heart attacks,” says Dr. Klodas. “More importantly, stress makes you less attentive and less focused on your own health. This can lead you to eat the wrong things, overeat or drink too much.”
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for you is one of the best gifts you can give your heart. Being overweight is associated with higher blood cholesterol levels, diabetes and blood pressure, according to UCSF Health.
“Exercise can help with weight loss, but it’s best to maintain your weight once you’ve reached your goal weight,” says Dr. Klodas. “People who lose weight and keep it off are those who regularly add exercise to their lifestyle.”
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You don’t need to join a gym or perform a very complicated fitness routine to improve your heart health. Simply taking a few steps and going for an invigorating walk each day is a great way to exercise. The best part about walking is that you don’t need any fancy equipment and you can check it off your list wherever you are! Dr. Klodas recommends walking for an hour every day, which can add up to about four miles. Ask a friend to join you or stream a fun podcast, and the time will pass much faster.
Ultimately, don’t make things too overwhelming! You can jump into a game plan without going all-in on it from the start. “You don’t have to achieve the fitness goal you set for yourself overnight,” confirms Dr. Klodas. “For example, if the goal is to get to one hour of walking daily, if you start with one minute and add one minute each day, you will reach your goal of 60 minutes in just two months!”
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Don’t be too hard on yourself and just have fun with the physical activity you choose. After all, according to Dr. Klodas, “There is no right or wrong exercise. Do what you love to do. If you like to ride a bike, ride a bike. If you like to hike, go hiking.” hiking. If you prefer yoga or Pilates— Do that. Mixing it up a little for a more well-rounded approach is ideal, but it’s more important that you move your body than how you move it. So basically, go- there!
“Do something you enjoy doing with the exception of exercise,” suggests Dr. Klodas. For example, if you like to binge-watch movies or sports, do it while you’re on the treadmill or exercise bike. Or, if reading is more your cup of tea, order the audio version of a new book and enjoy listening to it while you rack up steps around the block.