10 Best Exercises to Do for Improving Heart Health
We all know how important proper exercise is for maintaining heart health. But different exercises help in different ways, and some are more effective than others.
While all exercise will help with your long-term health, keeping a good cardio routine helps to prevent many common heart issues. With a targeted routine, you can focus on the areas you may need for your health.
What types of cardio exercises help with what aspects of your health? How much should you exercise, and when? Let’s take a look at ten of the best heart health workouts, and how best to implement them.
Different Types of Cardio Exercises
Everyone knows the concept of cardio exercise, but not everyone knows what it means. While most forms of exercise will get your heart working, they don’t all qualify as cardio.
Cardiovascular exercise is also known as aerobic exercise. As the name would suggest, cardio involves any kind of exercise that triggers the aerobic metabolism in your cells.
In aerobic metabolism, your cells use large amounts of oxygen to maintain your exercise. This in turn raises your heart rate and respiration rate. This raises blood and oxygen flow throughout the body.
Why is this kind of exercise so important to heart health? To put it simply, the heart functions just like any other muscle. The more it is used, the stronger it becomes.
Good cardio will challenge the heart, causing it to pump harder than it does when at rest. It also increases rate of respiration during the exercise period.
This is great for your entire cardiovascular system. Vigorous activity of this nature strengthens the heart, improves blood pressure, and increases lung capacity.
Now that we’ve established what makes a good cardio exercise, let’s take a look at ten different cardio exercises you can add to your routine.
Exercises You Can Do at Home
If you have the time, exercising at a gym is the best choice. But even if you can’t, there are plenty of effective cardio workouts that can be done from the comfort of your home.
Even a simple exercise for a short period of time can do wonders for your heart health. Implementing any of these into your daily routine can help strengthen your heart and improve your overall health.
Exercise One: Jumping Rope
Believe it or not, jumping rope is an effective form of cardio exercise. Not only that, but you can easily do it at home as part of your daily routine.
Jumping rope is a great way to raise your heart rate and get your blood pumping. And because it’s a simple, repetitive exercise, it’s easy for anyone to do.
One of the best things about jumping rope is its flexibility and portability. There’s no need for exercise equipment; the rope is all you need. And because jump ropes are easy to transport, you can take them wherever you may go to get a quick workout in.
Jumping rope has many health benefits beyond the heart. It strengthens your muscles, particularly in the legs. It also helps with coordination and cognition, as the different patterns stimulate the brain.
Jumping rope may not seem like good exercise, but it is. If you don’t have the time for personal gym training, simply jumping rope for ten to twenty minutes can be a great way to keep your heart strong.
Exercise Two: Walking, Jogging, or Running
It should go without saying, but walking and running are great cardio exercises. Walking gets the heart pumping, stimulates aerobic respiration in cells, and induces deep breathing. All of these help strengthen the heart and lungs.
And of course, these exercises are flexible. You can start with a brisk walk, and increase the intensity to a jog and then a run as the routine gets easier.
Going for a walk or run every day for just thirty minutes has proven health benefits. Making it a part of your morning or evening routine is a great way to get good cardio exercise on a daily basis.
Exercise Three: High-Intensity Interval Training
High-intensity interval training involves short periods of intensive exercise, punctuated by periods of low-intensity periods of recovery exercise. This type of exercise uses a lot of energy. It burns large amounts of calories and greatly increases heart rate.
Medical experts recommend repeating a cycle of one minute of intense exercise and 2-3 minutes of light recovery. Doing so greatly raises heart and respiration rates, while the recovery period keeps strain from becoming too great.
This kind of interval training can be implemented in any exercise routine. It can be done at home or as part of a gym routine. Either way, it’s a great way to strengthen your lungs and heart.
Exercise Four: Elated Aerobics
This is a simple but effective form of cardiovascular exercise that can be done in your own home. It involves holding the arms above the head, while alternately raising each leg in a rhythm.
Hold your hands above your head. Then bring one leg up until your knee is at the same height as your waist. Lower your arms and leg, then repeat the process with the other leg.
This combination of raising and lowering your limbs, while keeping your arms elevated, increases heart rate and blood flow. It’s a simple and effective form of cardio that anyone can do.
Exercise Five: Stair Running
A good alternative for when weather or other circumstances keep you indoors, stair running has many of the same benefits as walking, jogging, and running.
This exercise is as simple as its name implies. Simply walking up and down the stairs is a good way to get your heart pumping. It can be slightly more strenuous than a simple walk due to the natural incline of stairs.
Stair exercises are so effective that they are emulated through workout equipment. If you’ve ever used a stair climber at a gym, you know why that is. Just ten or twenty minutes of stair running will get your heart pumping and your blood flowing.
Cardio Exercises for Your Gym Routine
Cardio exercise should be a staple of your gym routine. Many gyms have a wide variety of exercise machines available designed to help you focus on cardiovascular health.
Not only that, but many gyms also offer additional programs for cardio health. From dance classes to pilates, there are many ways to get a good cardio-focused workout at your gym. Here are some of the best options.
Exercise One: Dance
Dance may seem like a strange thing to do at a gym, but it’s actually a great workout. Dancing is a great option for group fitness training, which is offered at many gyms.
Dancing increases heart rate and breathing. It also strengthens the muscles and builds coordination. Not only that, but dance is a fun form of exercise. Done correctly, it won’t even feel like working out!
Dancing is a low-impact exercise, so it causes minimal stress on the body. It can build endurance and improve balance and coordination, all while helping improve heart health. And it’s an impressive skill to know outside of the gym.
Exercise Two: Treadmill
Treadmills provide similar benefits to walking or running. Using a treadmill has similar effects on heart rate and respiration. However, it also comes with its own set of benefits.
First, treadmills are easier on the joints than, say, walking on a concrete sidewalk. Additionally, treadmills can be adjusted to fit your specific workout needs.
You can adjust the speed and intensity at which the treadmill moves. Many machines can also be raised at an incline. This lets you get many of the benefits of stair exercises as well.
Exercise Three: Weight Training
Lifting weights may be associated with muscle training, but it’s an effective form of cardio as well. Weight training is similar to interval training; a period of intense exercise followed by a rest period.
However, this isn’t the only way that weight training helps with heart health. Strengthening your other muscles has benefits on your cardiovascular system.
By strengthening your body’s other muscles, you make them better able to handle stresses throughout the day. In turn, this reduces stress on your heart, since it doesn’t have to beat as hard to keep your muscles working well.
Exercise Four: Rowing Machine
A rowing machine is similar to weight training. However, since it doesn’t involve weight-bearing or impact, it is easier on the body. Rowing machines are also a total body workout.
This means that, like weight training, you’re building muscle mass in addition to working your heart. This has all of the aforementioned benefits on cardio health.
Rowing machines can be intense, so those looking for a lighter form of exercise may want to try other options. However, even just a short time on a rowing machine can do wonders for your cardiovascular wellbeing.
Exercise Five: Swimming
Swimming has been shown time and again to be one of the best forms of exercise you can do. It works the heart and lungs, and uses more muscles than most other forms of exercise.
The benefits of swimming can hardly be overstated. It strengthens your heart and lungs, as it requires you to effectively pace your breathing. It helps build endurance, and helps reduce stress on the body.
Swimming is also great for building and toning your muscles. Swimming works a number of muscles that are otherwise rarely used. It’s also a full body workout, meaning it uses most of your muscles at some point.
Swimming is even a great way to lose weight. It’s a rigorous form of exercise. It helps keep the heart and lungs strong, effectively burns calories, and strengthens muscles throughout your entire body.
Things to Avoid for Heart Health
Not all exercises are created equally. Believe it or not, it is possible to damage your heart with inappropriate exercise.
The main thing to keep in mind is preparation. Vigorous exercise without proper preparation can be detrimental to your health in the long term. This can be anything from running too long to excessive weight lifting.
Stretching before exercising is key to preventing injury. Stretching helps loosen the muscles, making them more flexible and better able to handle the stresses of exercise.
If you’re not properly trained and prepared for your exercise routine, you can jeopardize your health. Exercising without a warmup can result in injuries like torn or pulled muscles.
Not only that, but it can also be counterproductive to cardiovascular health. Exercising without preparation, or exercising in excess, can lead to adrenaline production that can cause a heart attack in susceptible individuals.
No matter your routine or overall health, always be sure to be properly prepared before any exercise. And never try to push yourself too hard. Quality of exercise is far more important than intensity.
Keep Your Heart Healthy Through Exercise
Cardiovascular health is essential. Keeping your heart healthy will improve all aspects of your health. It’ll help you feel better and more energetic.
Maintaining good heart health requires work, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Implementing any of these exercises in your daily routine will help keep your cardiovascular health high.
Looking for a gym where you can get the cardio workout you need? Let us help. Fitness CF gyms are the best in the central Florida area. We have plenty of top-quality cardio equipment to help you get the workout your heart deserves.
Have any questions? Get in touch with us today. Get a membership at our great gyms, and let us help you on the path to excellent heart health.