We all know by now how much exercise is recommended by ‘the experts’ to maintain a healthy heart.
But just to recap, the minimum amount of exercise we should be doing during the week is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of more vigorous exercise.
What we’re aiming for is an activity that raises our heart and respiratory rate, essentially challenging our hearts to work harder and therefore become stronger.
Cardiovascular fitness improves the way our bodies use oxygen. As our hearts become stronger walking up stairs becomes easier, we aren’t as short of breath. We also find that we can perform physical activities for longer, as our heart becomes more efficient at pumping blood around our bodies.
Any physical activity is good for your heart, but the five I’ve chosen here will really get it pumping.
I love this one, mainly because it doesn't cost anything, can be done anywhere and by all ages and it's something I enjoy doing a lot, no matter what the weather.
You do need a comfy pair of shoes and some waterproofs though, no excuse for only being a ‘fair weather’ walker.
Now, brisk walking is not a stroll, it’s walking at a pace to raise your heart rate. A 25 minute walk every day will give you slightly over the recommended 150 min/week of activity.
That 25 minutes can be getting out of your front door and walking briskly for approx 13 minutes, turning and return home again.
This is a great exercise to do with children, when they come home from school, or during school holidays..they can also walk briskly!
Make it fun, get them to spot five things from nature as they walk, let’s start teaching our children to open their eyes to natural beauty.
There’s no excuse for not walking...we were made to walk.
More challenging than walking, but another heart healthy exercise.
If you’re a beginner and want to try running, there are some great Apps out there to get you started, guiding you from Day 1 to eventually reaching your goal.
Never be afraid of joining a running club, you will not be the only ‘beginner’. A good running club will welcome you, offering encouragement and help along your journey.
This is a great alternative to walking or running if you have joint problems.
I’m not talking about leisurely floating along here, it’s about swimming laps or even taking a water fitness class, working at a pace which increases your heart and respiratory rate.
We often forget that swimming is also a good resistance workout, as the water provides multi directional resistance, which in turn helps improve our muscular strength.
Cycling is a low impact exercise, that is also easier on the joints, and can be done anywhere...on the road, in the gym or a spin class.
As your heart is pumping, your legs and core are also getting a great workout.
Again, like running clubs, cycling clubs will offer encouragement and camaraderie to those who want to get into road cycling.
Interval or Circuit training
The perfect exercise if you find 30 minutes of aerobic exercise boring!
With High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) it’s a short, sharp burst of approx.15-20 minutes, and a mixture of cardio, strength and resistance work.
A Circuit training class, will run for longer, but again offering the same cardio/strength mix.
One thing for sure, your heart and lungs will definitely be working!
I think there’s a heart healthy exercise for all of us here, love you heart, and look after it.