The Best Exercises For Heart Health
Keeping your heart happy and healthy is one of the most important things you can do for your body. According to the private Irish health insurance company, Laya Healthcare, every year around 10,000 people die from cardiovascular disease in Ireland, accounting for over 35% of all yearly deaths. This makes heart disease one of the leading causes of death in Ireland, prompting, even more, the need to talk about heart health to all ages.
Mistakenly, people tend to think that they should only be concerned about their heart health when they are in their 40s or 50s, but the truth is that prevention from an early age is of the utmost importance, as the amount of younger people with heart disease has been on a steady incline over the past few years.
Building a routine based on healthy habits and exercise is key to avoiding developing cardiovascular disease. Choosing to embrace a healthier lifestyle at any age can help prevent heart disease and lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
It is important to remember that you are never too old to start taking care of your heart and swapping out bad habits for good can really make a difference to your heart health.
So with that being said, let’s get into the best exercises you can do to improve your heart’s health.
Exercises For Heart Health
Low Impact HIIT Workouts
High-intensity interval training or HIIT workouts are an amazing way to make your heart happy.
HIIT allows individuals to increase and improve their heart rate very quickly over a short amount of time. HIIT workout results are similar to running but are a lot more tolerable.
A 2021 study saw that less than 15 minutes of HIIT per session can have a positive impact on your heart. It also saw that shorter bouts can be even more beneficial at improving cardio fitness, blood sugar control, blood pressure, and heart function when compared to longer HIIT sessions.
HIIT is a really great way to get your workout done and dusted quickly, but with the same results as a longer workout.
Resistance training has really great benefits, making it one of the best forms of exercise for improving heart health.
It decreases fat mass and increases muscle mass, which can be related to a decreased risk of diabetes and lower blood pressure.
It is important to note that if you choose to use weight machines, free weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises will all have similar outcomes with regard to heart health.
Again, it is important to pace yourself with strength training, as lifting beyond your means can lead to serious injury. Start with lighter weights and gradually work your way up to a more challenging lift. Your heart will thank you.
A great way to take care of your heart is to put on those runners and hit the pavement or the treadmill.
Running is a really great way to increase your heart rate and can give you an incredibly intense workout in a short amount of time.
It is also important to take it slow and steady until you can run comfortably and confidently. Even a light jog of just 5-10 minutes every day can lower your risk of early death from heart disease.
If you are a newbie to working out, or if you have an existing heart condition, then walking might be the right option for you.
Walking is a perfect low-impact option for older individuals, or those suffering from joint issues that stop them from running. And while any form of walking will be beneficial, a 2018 study suggests that the faster your walking speed, the better the results.
So if you can, turn on the jets and turn that stroll into a faster stride – and if that is not an option for you, a normal walking pace will still prove beneficial!
Cycling is one of the best exercises you can do to improve your heart health, and according to a 2019 study, any form of cycling can be associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Cycling is also a really great option for those who can’t (or don’t want to) go for runs or jogs. Cycling is a great way to increase your heart rate just as much as running, but because it is low impact it will be better on your joints and irritate them a lot less.
The great thing about cycling is that you can do it in the gym on a stationary bike, or if you have your own bike gathering dust in your shed, why not get adventurous and take some scenic cycling routes!
Dancing your way to a healthy heart is a real thing! A study in 2016 linked moderate-intensity dancing to a lower risk for early death from heart disease. The main reason for this is that those who dance usually stick with it for life, therefore magnifying its long-term health benefits.
Dance can also offer other benefits such as improved mood, confidence, and relationship building – all of which are tied to improved heart health. Dance also usually involves bouts of intense activity which has a greater payoff for your heart.