3 Exercises That Keep Your Heart Young

By on February 1, 2017

By Demmy James—

Are you over the age of 50 and wondering how you can improve your heart health through more than just a careful diet? If so, you are part of a large and growing number of women and men eager to discover new lifestyle routines that can support optimal daily diets. While you might already know that there are certain habits that can improve heart health (think about meditation, stress reducing tactics and cutting behaviors such as smoking and drinking too much), there are also exercise routines of tremendous benefit, too.

The Best Choices

Before we look at three specific exercises that keep your heart young, let’s take some time to see what is recommended as the top “types” of exercises to improve or even guarantee heart health at any age.

  • Interval Training – Looking to boost your metabolism, shed pounds, prevent diabetes and/or heart disease, and generally boost fitness? This is the way to go. Just blend a short burst of high intensity exercise (it could be jumping rope, running, cycling or even jogging briskly in place) with a slightly longer period of slower, recovery movements. Think sprinting for a full minute and then jogging for four – repeat eight sets and you’ve got an amazing workout.
  • Non impact Sports – Move many muscles and make the heart work harder to “fuel” all of them. Cross-country skiing, rowing and swimming are ideal. Pair this with an interval workout each day and your heart will really thank you!
  • Core Workouts – Pilates and yoga are good examples, and not only do these strengthen your body and give you better balance, but these actually lower blood pressure and ensure heart health.
  • Weight Training – Though you may think this is just interval training, it is a bit different, simply because it puts a bit more strain on the muscles and typically focuses on targeted muscle groups. It is beneficial to your heart simply because it trains the muscles to handle more of the strain or burden – ensuring the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to get its job done.

So, those are the best types of exercises to choose when you are looking to keep your heart young or even turn back the calendar a bit on your body and heart health. Many experts say we can boost heart health simply by being active throughout the day. In fact, it is now a given that those who exercise for an hour each day, but who sit at their computers for the rest of the time are not as healthy as those who are doing small amounts of activity as well as conditioning with the right types of exercise.

Additionally, there are some very bad choices you can make if you are considering how to boost heart health through the use of exercise. One of the worst is to jump into any sort of exercise that is both vigorous and entirely new to your body. Cross-country skiing, for example, is a fabulous way to exercise the entire body and get fitter and stronger. However, do not strap on your skis and attempt a 25-mile route on your first day out. That is more likely to lead to too much adrenaline and heart strain rather than heart health.

Also, keep in mind that whatever of the three exercises or types of exercises you choose, make them things you really love to do. It is far better for you to blend a few things you love than to force yourself to try to do something you hate. Though you may shed weight fast and get lean quickly by doing running workouts five to six days per week, if you hate running you’ll eventually stop. That is bad for the heart. So, pick something fun and that you are going to enjoy doing; it boosts heart health as well as improving your mood – which is also good for the heart!

Your Heart Health Exercises

Now that you know the types of exercises that are good for boosting heart health, let’s take a look at three that fitness and health experts consistently rank as their favorites and most recommended:

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Walking

Don’t make any assumptions about walking. Yes, it is easy and you can do it just about anywhere, but it can also be incredibly effective at helping you shed some unwanted weight and blend with other movements to really boost outcomes. If you are going to add it to your daily routine, be sure you are getting in 30 minutes of “brisk” walking for optimal heart health. This is walking at a pace that leaves you feeling a bit winded, but not SO winded that you cannot talk with a friend.

Remember too that you can use big arm movements and hand weights to create an amazing workout that targets all of your muscle groups, gets the heart rate going and boosts metabolism.

A simple walking routine would be to warm up with some gentle stretches for five minutes and walk at a slow pace for an additional five minutes. Pick up the pace to a brisk 3.5 miles per hour and hold it for the next 30 minutes. Cool down for five minutes and then do some stretching. Add weights a few days a week, and simply swing the arms to make the most of your walking workout. Cycling

Again, don’t underestimate this one. The act of cycling actually puts the largest muscle in the body to work, and this really improves the health of the heart. You can get the same benefits from a good in-home cycling routine, a spinning class or a long ride on the road. Again, adjusting up to a period of more intense movement is always going to give you the maximum heart improvements – but do not choose an advanced spinning class if you have not been cycling long. Build up to intervals and you’ll see amazing improvements in muscle tone, cardio strength and endurance.

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Swimming

As one of the most popular sports, swimming is also touted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as one of the safest aerobic exercises for heart health. Squeeze in a 30 minute swim, a few days per week and you enjoy all of the heart benefits you require for optimal cardio fitness. It is wonderful on the joints, builds lots of muscle and really supports weight loss.

 There you have three good exercises for keeping the heart young, but you should also consider those “types” of exercise we mentioned earlier. Mix it up, and find the activities you enjoy the most. Consider some higher intensity intervals for the most benefits, but remember to build up to the more vigorous activity to protect your heart while improving its health!

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3 Exercises That Keep Your Heart Young