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Best Exercises For Heart Health

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Kente Bates, Oregon Sports News

Heart health is important. Obviously, the heart is the muscle that keeps humans alive. Heart health is essential to life. Here is my quantitative list of heart health exercises.

CIRCUIT TRAINING

Most fitness/wellness experts agree that movement is better than sitting still when it comes to improving your heart health, but probably the best type of exercise to increase your cardiovascular fitness is circuit training. Clinical testing shows that when you work out at a very high intensity the blood starts to pump a lot harder and that challenges the elasticity of the arterial wall.  It sort of stretches the arteries and improves the elasticity for better cardiovascular fitness. Opting for minimal rest periods, and alternating between upper and lower body exercises is the ideal way to get maximum results.

SWIMMING

Hit the pool for a workout your heart (and lungs) will love. Lane swimming will give you a greater return on your exercise time investment versus leisure swimming that will only bring benefits for the extremely unfit population.   My recommendation? Progressing from eight to 12 lengths of the pool per swim technique, varying techniques on different days. This could mean doing front crawl and legs only with a flutter board one day and then back crawl and breast stroke another day. One swim technique guaranteed to bring up your fitness level is fist freestyle, which is using closed fists for any swim style. It’s fun, it will work- but you still have to put the work in.

WEIGHT TRAINING

For those with heart disease, weight training is essential.In addition to building muscle mass, which will help you burn fat, weight training is also good for bone health and your heart. When it comes to deciding what type of weight training to do, using your own body weight can be extremely effective. For example, try slowing the pace of a push up on the descent of the exercise.

RUNNING

A good run is undoubtedly the best way to strengthen your heart, get the blood flowing and get a good sweat going. Take a cue from pro athletes and try interval training. For at least ten seconds, go all out. Maximum intensity, maximum results. Use your best judgment and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

YOGA

This one flies in the face of all the rest, but it gets results.  At first glance, yoga may not seem like an obvious heart health activity, but it is. Pushing your heart rate up and down quickly can be hazardous to those who are out of shape (heart attacks that occur while shoveling snow is an example of this). At first glance, yoga may not seem like an obvious heart health activity, but it is. Yoga is great for strength and muscle toning. The more active styles of yoga such as Ashtanga and Bikram can offer cardiovascular benefits, as your heart rate is elevated throughout the class.

BIKING

Just like with running, this one is a no-brainer. Multiple studies have shown the benefits of incorporating biking/cycling into your fitness regimen. Notably, the British Medical Association conducted a large study. The findings revealed that cycling just 20 miles a week reduced the potential to develop heart disease by a whopping 50 percent. Biking is fun, it gets you moving. It also is a great stress reliever and a gem of a cardio workout.

No matter what you choose, have fun with it. A great rule of thumb for beginners is 30 minutes per session, 5 days a week. Build it up to 1 hour, 5 days a week. These exercises are basic exercises to get you back in shape- safely and slowly. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!

  • MapMyRun

    MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

    Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

     
  • MyFitnessPal

    MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

    Made for iPhone and Android

     
  • JeFit

    JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

    Made for iPhone and Android

     
  • Strava

    Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

    Made for iPhone and Android

     
  • YogaStudio

    YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

    Made for iPhone only

     
  • SimplyBeing

    SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

    Made for iPhone and Android

     

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