Everyone has heard that physical activity is beneficial for the heart and circulatory system. Although many people may not know why this is true, they have heard that physical activity is good for them.
The question remains: why is physical activity good for your heart and preventing heart disease?
- Lowers blood pressure, which reduces strain on your heart
- Increases good cholesterol (HDL), which moves fat away from arteries
- Can reduce levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) which has the possibility of forming fatty deposits in arteries
- Helps in weight loss & fat loss
- Builds up muscle mass
- Improves circulation, preventing blood clots which lead to heart attacks
So now that we know what physical activity does, how much of it do we need to make a difference? It is recommended that individuals get 30 minutes of exercise for at least 5 days a week. It is important that we remember the best exercise for the heart is aerobic activity. These are exercises that focus on large groups of muscles in the body. For it to be effective, it is key to raise your heart rate. It is important to remember to warm up before exercise and take time to cool down at the end of the session. Examples of aerobic activity are brisk walking, hiking, swimming, running, etc.
For additional cardiovascular health benefits, you should also include moderate to high intensity muscle strengthening at least 2 days per week. Examples of muscle strengthening exercises includes push ups, squats, sit ups, bicep curls, etc.
Something to remember is that any exercise is better than none. If you don’t meet your physical activity requirements for the week, then you should still get some sort of physical activity! If you’re not currently physically active, then you can build up to longer bouts of exercise to help you meet your goal.
If you have more questions about physical activity and heart health: