Exercising for a Healthy Heart
For each disease and illness there are certain risk factors. Some of these are controllable risk factors, while others are out of our hands. The important thing is that we do our best to control what we can, and not stress about the rest. When it comes to heart health, there are many risk factors that we can impact by focusing on a healthy lifestyle.
Some of the controllable risk factors for heart disease include:
-High Blood Pressure
-High LDL Cholesterol
-High Stress and Anxiety Levels
-Being Overweight or Obese
What I find encouraging about this list is that there is one common lifestyle change that can help to reduce each of these risk factors with one single activity. Physical activity, especially cardiovascular exercise, can help to significantly reduce each of these risk factors.
Exercise has been shown to reduce high blood pressure, increase HDL (good) cholesterol while lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, improve our body’s ability to metabolize glucose, reduce stress and anxiety and of course improve our body’s composition.
With ONE single lifestyle change – incorporating physical activity into our daily lives – we can reduce FIVE risk factors!!!
So what kind of physical activity should we be aiming for?
We should be aiming for a total of 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week (this works out to 30 minutes a day 5 days per week). If that seems like a lot to do at once remember that you can start small and work up to it, or you can break it down into two smaller sessions of 15 minutes each, twice a day. A walk is a great place to start but other options include swimming, cycling, cross-country skiing, dancing and so much more! This is a great way to strengthen your heart, improve its efficiency and reduce resistance to blood flow in our blood vessels.
Working on our flexibility through stretching should be done on most days of the week for all major muscle groups. Taking time to meditate and breathe deeply can be a great way to alleviate stress.
Performing strengthening exercises for all major muscle groups on 2-4 days of the week is a great way to improve our body composition and improve how our body is able to metabolize sugars. Try to use each major muscle group at least twice per week. This can be done through body-weight exercises, strength training machines, free weights, resistance bands and so much more.
If you have questions about how to get started, what kind of exercise is best for you or want more details about how exercise can help you, feel free to reach out to us! We’d love to chat with you more. Email your questions to Info@ActivitiesInMotion.ca or call us at 613-869-3246.
We regularly post ideas for how to get active on our Facebook page! Be sure to follow us and be inspired with new exercises!