- Heart disease, according to the American Heart Association, is the leading global cause of death especially for women.
- Exercise is an essential step to promote overall heart health by making the heart muscle stronger, aids in weight loss which eventually prevents damage in the arteries.
- Cardio exercises and stretching are among the exercises recommended to boost heart power and improve factors that raise the risks for heart disease.
February is American Heart Health Month. If you are not doing enough to keep your heart healthy, now’s the time to give it more attention.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and the number one killer of women, according to the American Heart Association. A major step towards a healthy heart is exercising. It strengthens the heart muscle, helps maintain a healthy weight and prevents artery damage from hypertension, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.
Here are exercises to keep your heart healthy.
Cardio is one of the best ways to keep your heart pumping. Not only does it strengthen your heart and blood vessels, but it also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improves flow of oxygen throughout your body.
The following are cardio moves that keep your heart rate up.
- Elated Aerobics – Raise your arms up straight above your head, while bringing one knee up one at a time like a high march in place. Each time you bring your knee up, continue reaching the arms, and then bring the arms down when you bring the knee down. If you want to make this even more challenging, you can run in place with high knees adding a bounce to the step. To get your heart rate up, reach your arms up and down 10 times.
- Kickboxing – For this exercise, punch across your body towards the left with your right arm, while tapping your right foot in place. Then switch sides do this 10 times alternately. Add in a bounce if you want to step it up.
If you’re constantly stressed, stretching coupled with deep, slow breathing improve factors that increase heart disease risks, lowers blood pressure and eases stress.
Here are examples for you to try:
- Heart-Opening Stretch – For people who sit all day at work, this is a great stretch for you. You can do this either standing or sitting with your hands clasped behind your back. To open up the front of your body and chest, press your palms together, bring your shoulders back and take few, slow and deep breaths.
- Power Stretching Pose – Your body will definitely be awakened with this power stretch. Generally, doing these stretches a few times any time of the day is best. You can do this in two ways: One, raise your arms diagonally in front of you and arch your back. Or two, clasp your hands above your head and reach them behind you. Before a workout, if you use these stretches during warm ups, make sure to keep moving while stretching.
These help improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Making your muscles strong can improve your metabolism, leading to more calorie-burn even when your body is at rest.
In general,at least two or three days per week of strength training is recommended to get the maximum benefits.