E xperts have told us for years that we need to exercise to stay healthy. The suggestion is at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week will have a huge impact on our health and well-being. But did you know that regular moderate exercise can also help to improve our heart health? It also helps to minimize our chances of developing heart disease. Exercise not only helps to keep our bodies strong and fit, but it also helps to keep our hearts that way as well.

WHAT ROLE DOES EXERCISE PLAY IN IMPROVING OUR HEALTH?

It can reduce our risk of dying from heart disease. A stronger heart will reduce any symptoms of chest discomfort that we might have. It can reduce our risk for heart failure. It affects our total heart and cardiovascular system efficiency. It can make the system work better.

HOW DOES EXERCISE DECREASE YOUR RISK FOR HEART DISEASE RISK FACTORS?

Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and decreased body fat. Those two factors alone help to keep your heart healthy. Exercise can reduce your risk of developing diseases like diabetes and will help ward off high blood pressure. It also helps improve your cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides in your system. It reduces the probability of you having to become medication dependent for specific ailments, and it can help you to stop smoking.

HOW DOES EXERCISE IMPROVE YOUR OVERALL WELL-BEING?

It can help you live a better life by increasing your ability to do your daily tasks without becoming short of breath or losing energy throughout the day. It can help to improve your posture and make you more flexible. Studies have shown that it can lessen your feelings of anxiety or depression. It helps to keep your muscles, bones, and joints healthy.

HOW DO YOU ENSURE YOU GET ENOUGH EXERCISE TO BENEFIT YOUR HEART HEALTH?
Meet the recommended minimums for exercise. That means you should get regular aerobic exercise at moderate intensity at least 3 – 4 times per week for a minimum total of 150 minutes. Be sure to consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

The proper way to begin an exercise routine is to make sure to get your heart ready for movement. Begin with a warm-up to make sure you’re getting an adequate range of motion, do some stretches to improve flexibility, and start with low-intensity exercises like walking to slowly get your heart rate up. Your warm-up should last for at least five to ten minutes.

Next, you’ll have to condition for optimal results. Gradually increase the frequency of exercise, increase the intensity, and then, increase the duration for which you exercise. Taking these simple steps can help you in the long run.

To avoid injury, the final step should be a cool down. This will help you recover quicker and can eliminate some of those after workout pains that you might feel. It will allow your blood pressure and heart rate to lower. Do this by slowly decreasing the intensity of whatever activity you’re doing.

By Claudia Portillo