The heart is one of the most vital organs keeping us alive. Therefore, we need to take care of it. More than 7 million people are living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK. Furthermore, a shocking 28% of adults in the UK are obese.
Exercise plays an important role in having a stronger and healthier heart. So, it’s never too late to start exercising! Especially, since nearly two in five adults in the UK do not achieve recommended levels of physical activity.
Regular exercise can help burn calories, lower your blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, keep your weight under control, and boost good cholesterol.
Aerobic exercise is good for your heart as it improves circulation, which results in lowered blood pressure and heart rate, and decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes. It also improves lung fitness, reduces stress and depression, increases muscle and bone strength, and helps prevent blood clots. Aerobic exercises include brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis and jumping rope. Swimming is one of the best aerobic exercises, two and a half hours of swimming per week will give you all the aerobic heart health benefits you need. It also puts less stress on your bones and joints.
Lifting weights can help reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke by 40% to 70%, according to a study by Iowa State University. Heavy static exercise gives the circulatory system a better workout because the oxygen expenditure is more intense. Strengthening your muscles also gives you the ability to better perform everyday activities and protect your body from injuries, along with boosting your metabolic rate and burning more calories. Strength training exercises include weightlifting, push-ups, squats, working with resistance bands, sit-ups or lunges.
Stretching, flexibility and balance
Flexibility workouts, such as stretching, don’t directly aid heart health. However, they do benefit musculoskeletal health. If you have a good musculoskeletal foundation, it enables you to do the exercise that help your heart. Flexibility exercises stretch the body and increase a person’s range of movement, they also slow down the rate of bone and muscle loss associated with ageing. Examples of flexibility activities include stretching, yoga, tai chi and Pilates. Balance exercises are also beneficial as they help to reduce the risk of falls and the disabilities they can cause.
Along with exercise, every day life changes can help get your heart pumping! Take the stairs instead of the lift, go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to and from work if possible, walk more briskly, when doing housework work at a quicker pace, or do some gardening.