The heart is a unique human organ. It takes on an incredible load: it pumps 630 liters of blood in just one hour, 15 120 liters per day! It is possible and necessary to train the heart muscle. And like most muscles, it can and should be trained and developed.
The undeniable benefits of exercising leaves no one in doubt. Perhaps not a single publication on physical culture is complete without reference to an extremely vivid statement, sometimes attributed to various authors, but actually belonging to the Italian physiologist Angelo Mosso: “Exercise can replace many drugs, but no medicine in the world can replace exercise.” Regular exercise helps to prevent and even cure a range of diseases. Let us examine closely how and what type of physical activity can help you keep your heart healthy and strong.
Benefits of regular physical activity
- regular exercise keeps a person is in good physical shape
- helps to increase the “good” lipids in the blood, and therefore helps to fight atherosclerosis
- reduces the tendency for blood to clot
- helps to normalize blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke
- effective for weight loss and weight normalisation and prevents the development of diabetes
- protects against stress, improves mood and sleep
- reduces the risk of osteoporosis and therefore fractures in the elderly.
What is the type of exercise that will strengthen your heart?
What kind of training should you choose for a healthy heart and good blood pressure? First, you schedule regular physical activity at least three times a week. Secondly, exercise should be aerobic – this exercise is otherwise called cardio workouts. In aerobic fitness, muscle movements are carried out at the expense of energy, which is obtained during the oxidation of glucose molecules with oxygen, and the training process is accompanied by an increase in respiration and heart rate. Typical examples of aerobic exercise are running, cycling, team sports, walking, swimming. When choosing the type of activity, one must focus on individual desires and also take into account the state of the musculoskeletal system. So, for example, with diseases of the spine or leg joints, preference should be given to swimming, and it is better to refrain from running.
Third, the workout should be not less than 20 to 60 minutes. Fourth, in order not to harm your health and achieve a training effect, you need to ensure that during cardio training, the heart rate is within certain values. The target heart rate values are individual and depend on the age and the initial state of the cardiovascular system.
How long will it take to see the results of physical activity?
Exercise is hugely beneficial, and one of its main benefits is to lower your heart rate. During exercise training, the heartbeat speeds up. However, in the long term, regular aerobic exercise will help lower your resting heart rate. You can engage in any kind of high-intensity interval training or resistance training, strength training, as well as aerobic exercises that suits you, and you can benefit from it. Try to devote at least 30 minutes to it every day.
If you are very busy throughout the day and find it difficult to make time for exercise, try exercising in the morning before doing other activities.
If you find it difficult to work out 30 or more minutes at a time, you can do 15 minutes twice a day. The importance is to maintain a regular exercise schedule.
One of the benefits of an exercise routine for heart health is that it helps to maintain normal blood pressure. How? First of all, exercise reduces the amount of “bad” cholesterol that can form plaque on the walls of blood vessels, complicating the blood flow, affecting your systolic blood pressure, and making your heart pump blood much faster than it actually should. Constant exercise throughout life helps maintain vascular elasticity and heart health in elderly age.
Except for incredible benefits for our health and body shape, physically active people report much better mental health conditions, mood, and general wellbeing than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. If you exercise regularly, you help your organism fight stress, depression, and emotional problems. On average, the research shows that physically active people experience negative feelings 1,5 times rarer than those who do not train. And as you know, stresses are one of the main causes of many diseases, including heart attack and high blood pressure.
For your physical activity to be of real benefit, follow the three basic rules:
- Gradualness: increase the load slowly. Large and sharp intensity without preparation can cause disturbances in the work of the cardiovascular system.
- Consistency: try to maintain regularity in your classes, preferably daily. The effect will be better not from three sessions per week for an hour, but from daily for 30-45 minutes.
- Correct alternation of exercising and rest is a prerequisite for achieving high efficiency of training.
Some helpful tips
- Choose those types of physical activity that give you pleasure. Let your friends and family keep you company – more fun together!
- Try climbing stairs at least one floor, gradually increase the number of floors that you climb without an elevator.
- Look for opportunities to increase your daily physical activity. Get off one stop early and try brisk walking, etc.
- If walking alone is not interesting for you, get a dog. A faithful and devoted friend will always be happy to accompany you on a walk and bring you additional positive emotions!
To Sum Up
Being active is one of the basic principles for staying healthy and look good. Undeniably, regular exercise, whether it is an aerobic exercise or high-intensity activity aimed at increasing muscle mass, helps to burn calories and lose weight. But it can do much more than that and keep our heart health in perfect condition. Thus, an active lifestyle with training on regular basis (at least 3 times per week) will control your heartbeat, decrease high blood pressure, maintain the elasticity of blood vessels and good blood flow, and so on for good heart health, preventing heart attacks, high cholesterol, and other diseases.
The good news is that there is such a variety of activities with various levels of intensity that everyone can choose something he/she would enjoy: jogging, swimming, dancing, yoga, resistance training, tai chi, stretching… The list is endless. Do not forget to consult with your therapist as well as a professional trainer before you start an exercise to make sure you do not harm your health and take the most benefit from every training.