An important step toward boosting your heart health is being physically active. But did you know there are three different types of exercise that play a role in an effective fitness routine?
According to Johns Hopkins researchers, aerobic exercise and resistance training are two of the most important exercises for heart health, but stretching and flexibility can provide a better foundation for exercising effectively.
1. Aerobic Exercise for Heart Health
During aerobic activity, the repetitive contraction of large muscle groups gets the heart beating faster and over time, strengthens the muscle. It also improves the flow of oxygen throughout the body.
For best health benefits, the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise per week
. This includes walking, running, cycling, swimming or even boxing.
Watch champion boxer Jose Ramirez share his fitness tips on MedWatch Today below:
2. Resistance Training & Strength Work
Carrying extra body fat, such as a large belly, can be a risk factor for heart disease. Therefore resistance training is especially important because of its impact on body composition. Doing regular strength work can help reduce fat and create leaner muscle mass.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least two nonconsecutive days per week of resistance training
. This can include working out with free weights (hand weights, dumbbells or barbells) or on weight machines. It can also be done at home through body-resistance exercises, such as push-ups, squats and chin ups.
3. Stretching Flexibility & Balance
While stretching and flexibility don’t directly contribute to heart health, they do benefit the musculoskeletal health. This is the foundation to being able to maintain aerobic exercise and resistance training. Stretching every day before and after other exercise can allow you to live free from joint pain, cramping and other muscular issues.
Overall, a variety of exercise can not only strengthen the heart muscle, but also keep weight under control. In turn, this wards off the artery damage caused by high cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.