Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. Many factors are to blame, including diet and sedentary lifestyle. Fortunately, a few simple changes to your daily habits can help protect you from vascular disease. No matter what your level of fitness, there is a type of exercise that can benefit your cardiovascular system.
Doctors agree that all it takes to keep your ticker healthy is 30 minutes a day, five days per week of aerobic activity. This is exercise that raises your heart rate, and it can range from low to high intensity. Even this small amount of activity can help to lower resting heart rate, lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol and reduce blood pressure, all of which help to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. People who engage in regular physical activity are half as likely to suffer from heart disease. Some studies have even indicated that exercise can be as beneficial to your heart health as drugs prescribed to treat cardiovascular issues.
There are lots of different types of physical activities that will boost your cardiovascular health. The key is to vary your routine so you don’t become bored and your muscles don’t become acclimated to the same repeated activity. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Walking is a great place to start if you’re new to exercise. It’s relatively easy on the joints, you can do it anywhere, it doesn’t require any equipment, (although you should invest in decent walking shoes) and some studies indicate that walking can lower your risk for heart disease as much as more intense exercises like running. Walk with your spouse, your children or your dog. Make it an enjoyable experience and you’ll want to repeat it.
If you do experience joint pain, swimming is a very low impact activity from which you can reap lots of cardiovascular benefit. It’s a full body workout that strengthens all major muscle groups including the core. Additionally, swimming is fantastic for burning calories.
Jogging or Running
If you are already physically active and you want to take it to the next level, jogging or running could be your ideal exercise. It burns calories and builds muscle as well as getting your heart pumping which helps to strengthen it and keep it healthy.
Cardio Interval Training
This types of exercise consists of periods of very intense activity lasting for anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute alternating with periods of rest. Interval training can be done at any level. “High intensity” refers to the intensity for the individual. This could mean anything from walking at a brisker pace to jump squats or jumping lunges for the high intensity portions of the workout. Recent research indicates this is one of the most efficient ways not only to improve cardiovascular health, but also to burn calories and lose weight.
The sooner you start an exercise program the sooner you’ll reap the many cardiovascular benefits. Isn’t your heart worth 30 minutes a day? Consult your physician before starting a new physical activity regimen.