We know that heart health is of utmost importance, no matter what stage of life we find ourselves in. We have grown up hearing and learning that fitness and exercise are imperative for a healthy heart in winters, but as stressors in life increase things like fitness and wellness often take a backseat. But by undertaking these few changes in your life suggested by our expert, you can significantly contribute to ideal heart health and reduce the risk of heart-related diseases.
Aerobic Exercise: The Heart’s Best Friend
“Aerobic exercise is crucial for a healthy heart. It is those exercises which get your heart rate up and pumping, to increase blood circulation. Brisk walking, running, cycling, and swimming are all great examples of aerobic exercise,” said Dr Ravinder Singh Rao, MBBS, MD, DM, FACC, Interventional Structural Cardiologist.
“Incorporating just one of these into your daily routine, and by doing it for just 30 minutes every day it can positively impact your heart health as well as overall well-being,” he added.
Strength Training for a Strong Heart
“While aerobic exercise is important for heart health, it should not be the only way you incorporate heart-healthy exercises into your routine. Lifting weights or using your body for bodyweight exercises helps build muscle mass which not only contributes to weight management, but also boosts metabolism and is key to preventing heart issues,” Dr Singh said. Also, strong muscles provide better support to the cardiovascular system, reducing the workload on the heart during daily activities.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Pumping Up Heart Health
HIIT caught on in popularity in 2014. According to Dr Singh, it is a type of interval training exercise, which incorporates several rounds that alternate between high and low intensity movements. This style of training challenges the heart and increases its efficiency. However, HIIT workouts should be tailored to each person’s capabilities, fitness levels, and medical conditions. According to research, HIIT burns 25-30% more calories than other types of exercise.
Mind & Body: Yoga and Meditation
It is understandable that not everyone might be able to do strenuous physical activity. Here, yoga and meditation are good options for people looking for a slower way to start heart healthy activities that are easily accessible. “Combining physical posture movements with breath control activities help both the physical body and the heart. It is proven that regularly practicing yoga helps to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve overall cardio-vascular function. Meditation and deep breathing exercises contribute to stress reduction, positively impacting heart health by lowering cortisol levels and promoting relaxation,” Dr Singh said.
Regular Check-Ups: Monitoring Heart Health
Lastly, before starting or intensifying any fitness routine, it is necessary to consult with a fitness/wellness professional. Regular check-ups with your doctor can help monitor your heart health and identify any potential risk factors.
Your doctor can provide guidance on the most suitable exercise regimen based on your individual health status. Additionally, regular check-ups can help give a timely and accurate diagnosis of any potential illness, giving ample time for a medical workup and solution.
Enhancing your fitness routine is a powerful strategy for achieving ideal heart health. Incorporating a variety of exercises, including aerobic workouts, strength training, and mind-body activities is important, but so is staying consistent with one’s fitness routine and eating a heart-healthy diet is also incredibly important to good heart health. It is also extremely necessary to listen to your own body, and not push yourself so much that you injure yourself. By taking a holistic approach to heart health, you can enjoy the benefits of improved cardiovascular fitness and a stronger, healthier heart.