Helping the Heart with Exercise

Exercise isn’t just beneficial for our muscles; our vital organs can likewise benefit from physical activity. This includes, of course, the heart, which is an absolutely crucial part of both the circulatory and cardiovascular system. Listed below are three types of exercise that enable the heart to fire on all cylinders. 

Aerobic Exercise: Chances are you’ve heard the phrase “aerobic exercise” numerous times over the years. In short, aerobic exercise can be defined simply as any activity that simultaneously increases the body’s oxygen use and heart rate. 

Those who routinely engage in aerobic activities tend to not only have lower blood pressure readings, but also lower heart rates, meaning that their heart organs are working in a more efficient manner. As an added bonus, research indicates that such exercises can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, running and swimming. Other options include tennis, jumping rope and using a stationary bike. 

Resistance Training: Casually referred to as “pumping iron,” resistance training involves moving your limbs and/or core muscles against external resistance, typically provided by either dumbbells or weighted bars. This type of physical activity may also be referred to as strength training. 

Lifting weights can prove highly beneficial for those with high levels of body fat; aside from burning off excess pounds, resistance training is also a time-tested way to create leaner, stronger muscle mass. Furthermore, some studies have concluded that adults who perform strength training exercises on a consistent basis might lower their levels of bad cholesterol, while at the same time increasing their HDL (good) cholesterol readings. 

Stretching, Flexibility and Balance Exercises: By themselves, exercises designed to improve flexibility have no impact on the health of the heart. However, they do bolster our muscles, bones and the tendons and ligaments that connect them together. By strengthening these crucial parts of your body, you can reduce your risk of experiencing muscle cramps and joint pain. In turn, a flexible body is better able to engage in both aerobic exercises and resistance training. Popular examples of stretching exercises include tai chi and yoga.

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