Going to the gym regularly is an important part of keeping your heart healthy. But you may be wondering, "What kind of exercises are best for heart health?" Aerobic exercise and resistance training are some of the best exercises you can do for a healthy heart. But what are they, and what are some examples of each?
Aerobic exercise, also referred to as cardio, is extremely important for heart health. Aerobic exercises are exercises that focus on getting your heart pumping. The American Heart Association recommends doing 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week.
Treadmill or Elliptical
Both the treadmill and elliptical offer great opportunities for both moderate and vigorous aerobic exercise. If you want a moderate-intensity workout, aim for a brisk walking speed. Turn up the incline or speed for a vigorous aerobic workout.
Using a rowing machine is a great vigorous aerobic workout. It can also be used as a warm-up for a moderate-intensity workout.
Jumping rope is a great vigorous aerobic workout to add to your normal routine when you need a bit of variety. Just be sure to take it easy the first few times so you don't over-exert yourself.
Resistance training involves targeting specific muscles to strengthen them. People who do regular resistance training see a decrease in fat and an increase in lean muscle mass, reducing their risk of developing heart disease. The best way to add resistance training to your routine is to have at least two nonconsecutive days of focusing on strength work.
Use free weights such as dumbbells, hand weights, or barbells to target specific muscle groups, such as your arms and back.
The gym offers a variety of weight machines that can let you target nearly every muscle group. Make sure to read the instructions on the machine carefully before performing any exercise to avoid injury.
If you're not ready for machines and free weights yet, or are looking to add variety to your resistance training, add some body resistance moves. These exercises use your own body as the weight. Push-ups, squats, and chin-ups are all examples of body resistance exercises.
If you're working towards better heart health, exercising and proper diet are important factors. And with February being American Heart Month, Merritt has some events and programs to raise awareness for heart health and raise funds for the American Heart Association. Click here to see what your club is up to.