Regular exercising is a major step towards good heart health. Read this article to know which types and how much exercise should a person do for a healthy heart.
The human heart is a muscle that gets stronger and healthier by leading an active life. People who do not exercise are more likely to get heart disease than active people. Regular exercise is good for cardiovascular health. It is one of the most effective and efficient ways to burn calories, lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol.
Regular exercise can strengthen the heart and improves cardiorespiratory fitness. Here are the heart-healthy reasons why regular exercise should be a part of a daily routine:
Lower Blood Pressure: A healthy heart pumps more blood throughout the body. This helps decrease stress on the heart and surrounding arteries, reducing blood pressure. For people with high blood pressure, cardiovascular exercise may benefit.
Improved Blood Flow: Regular cardiovascular exercise allows the heart to achieve improved blood circulation in the small vessels around it. Improved blood flow in these areas may prevent heart attacks.
Lower Cholesterol: It is scientifically proven that exercise increases the amount of healthy HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and lowers bad LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol by as much as 10 %.
Decreased Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes: Research suggests that regular exercise helps reduce the possibility of coronary heart disease by about 21 % for men and 29 % for women. In addition, active people have a 20 % less chance of stroke. Regular exercise also helps maintain blood sugar levels and lower the risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Promote Other Heart-Healthy Habits: The American Heart Association states that regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight, make good nutrition choices, reduce stress, and improve mood.
Reduce the Incidence of Heart Arrhythmia: The American Heart Association has reported study results that indicate that in people who exercised regularly with a short-term, high-intensity interval training regimen, the incidence of atrial fibrillation (a type of arrhythmia) was almost half.
Improve Workout Efficiency: As a person begins a new workout routine that includes cardio exercise, it may take time for the body to adjust to a faster pace. But with time, the more routine the exercise becomes, the quicker the body pulls oxygen from the blood during workouts. That is why people who work out regularly have hearts that function better under stress and are less winded during a workout. Regular cardio exercise also allows the body to recover more quickly after exercise.
Aerobic Exercise: Aerobic or cardio exercise is the most effective way to improve heart health. Aerobic exercise helps improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Ideally, one should do at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercises at least five days a week. Examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, tennis, and jumping rope. In addition, people with joint problems can choose a low-impact activity, like swimming or walking.
Resistance Training (Strength Work): This exercise has a more specific effect on body composition. Resistance training effectively reduces fat and creates leaner muscle mass for people with a lot of body fat. In addition, research shows that a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training may help increase HDL (good) cholesterol and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least two-three times a week of resistance training. Resistance training involves exercising with free weights like hand weights, dumbbells, or barbells, resistance bands, and through body-resistance exercises, like squats, push-ups, and chin-ups.
Stretching, Flexibility, and Balance: Flexibility workouts, like stretching, do not directly contribute to heart health. But they benefit musculoskeletal health, enabling flexibility and freedom from joint pain, cramping, and other muscular issues. This flexibility is a critical part of maintaining aerobic exercise and resistance training. This form should be done every day and before and after other exercises. Stretching should also be done after warming up or after finishing exercising. Ensure that stretching should be done gently and it should not hurt.
Before beginning any new exercise plan, talk to a health care professional about the best way to include cardiovascular activity into the lifestyle. The professional help establish a customized plan that safely and gradually increases one's capacity for cardiovascular exercise. The health care professional also ensures whether or not a person is ready for a particular activity.
Stop and get immediate medical assistance if:
There is pain or pressure in the chest or the upper part of the body.
Have a very fast or uneven heart rate.
Dizziness or lightheadedness
It is normal for the muscles to be mildly sore for one or two days after the workout for beginners. However, it gets better with time as the body gets used to it.
It is important to get moving as soon as possible for people who suffered a heart attack. Although exercising can help boost energy and is essential for heart healing, one should take it slow at first. Consult a doctor to maintain a safe and effective long-term exercise plan. Make exercise a priority, adopt other healthy lifestyle choices like heart-healthy eating habits, maintain a healthy weight, minimize alcohol consumption and consistently take medications.
Exercise is an easy and free mode to improve heart health. It is essential to perform different types of exercises to achieve complete fitness. Aerobic or cardio exercise is the most important for heart health. Doing something simple can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or slow the progression of existing heart diseases.
The best exercises for an individual are:
- Swimming: It is a good workout to engage all the muscles.
- Tai Chi: It is a martial art that provides relaxation to the body.
- Walking: It is a simple but powerful exercise.
Running, jumping, rope climbing, playing tennis, and brisk walking can improve the condition of the heart. Initially, a person can start a slow walk and then proceed for intense exercises.
Cardio exercises require a repeated contraction of the heart muscles. The strengthening of the heart might take time according to the stamina of the individual. But with a continuous workout, it is possible to strengthen the blood vessels of the heart.
Walking is a type of good aerobic activity that can increase the heart rate for a temporary time period. The blood pressure is also increased for a while, resulting in an increase in the heart's efficiency. Brisk walking of 30 minutes every day is recommended for healthy functioning.
The following exercises can be performed at home.
- Standing overhead dumbbell presses.
- Single-leg deadlifts.
- Dumbbell rows.
- Side planks.
Researches suggest that it is essential to perform all four different types of exercises. The different exercises are strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance. Each exercise has different health benefits. Performing one type of exercise can help an individual to perform the others easily. It also helps to overcome the burden and risk of injury.
There are five basic exercises. These exercises help in involving all the muscles of the body, and it can be performed everywhere.
Yes, it is advisable to exercise every day. Physical exercises can provide physical and mental strength. It increases the levels of endorphins in the body. It also improves the stamina of an individual. Certain exercises might require a rest of a day or two.
No, you should not exercise too much. It can result in severe side effects. These side effects will resemble the following.
- Requiring longer periods of rest.
- Unable to perform at the same level.
- Feeling depressed.
- Being tired.
- Having irritability or mood swings.
- Getting overuse injuries.
- Feeling heavy limbs or sore muscles.
When you start exercising regularly, you can feel that your body stays more energized and alert. You can perform additional work with more clarity. Your efficiency will be increased in both physical and mental works.
Yes, exercise will modify the body shape. If a person is obese, appropriate exercises will help in making them slim. A great variation in the body shape will be noted in lean muscle training. You should consult your doctor and ask them to suggest a few exercises to modify your body's shape as per your requirements.
For beginners, it is recommended to get help from a doctor or a gym trainer. This will prevent them from unnecessary wear and tear of the muscles. The beginners would be recommended to go for pushups and squats during the initial stages of their exercise.
Exercises can help in increasing the level of high-density cholesterol. It is the good cholesterol that is very beneficial in reducing the risk of heart diseases. This becomes possible due to the flushing of blood vessels that are affected by blood clots.
We all know that breathing exercise is very good for the functioning of the lungs. But, deep breathing and appropriate breathing exercises in a seated position can increase the body's metabolism. It also reduces the level of stress. It can help in improving the overall health of the heart.
Last reviewed at:
24 Jun 2022 - 4 min read
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