Regular exercise benefits both your body and your mind. This February, celebrate Heart Month by giving heart-healthy exercises a try.
Not only can adopting an exercise routine help you lose weight, but it also can lower your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol and stabilize your blood sugars. Making consistent exercise a part of your weekly routine helps to lower your risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke. Plus, exercise is a great stress reliever, which can also lower your risk of all of the above.
But if an exercise routine is something new for you, figuring out where to start can be overwhelming and intimidating. You may not know how much exercise you need, what level of intensity you should aim for or even what activity suits your interests and fitness level.
You’re much more likely to stick with your new routine if you choose an activity you actually enjoy doing and build up your endurance slowly. Aim for 2.5 hours per week of an activity that elevates your heart rate.
Here are six heart-healthy exercises to try out. With any luck, you’ll find at least one that you enjoy doing and look forward to adding to your schedule.
Going for a walk at a brisk pace is a great low-impact way to get your body moving and slowly elevate your heart rate. Try exploring your town on foot, seeking out a new hiking trail or even reading a magazine on the treadmill.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better full-body workout than swimming laps. Not only does the water resistance add an element of strength training, but moving your arms and legs is sure to get your heart rate up. If you aren’t much of a swimmer, try a water aerobics or water running class.
Whether you use a stationary bike at the gym, attend a cycling class or enjoy riding your bike around town, biking can give you a great workout that gets your heart rate up and goes by quickly. Just don’t forget to wear a helmet if you’re hitting the road!
While it may not be the best activity for raising your heart rate, adding yoga to your weekly exercise routine can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
Raising and lowering your heart rate in intervals can improve your vascular function and help you burn more calories in a shorter period of time. Interval training can be as simple as alternating walking fast for three minutes and slow for one or doing 45 seconds of jumping jacks followed by 15 seconds of marching in place.
Who says working out has to be work? Dancing is the perfect way to get your heart rate up without even knowing you’re exercising. All it takes is putting on some music and moving your body.
Whatever exercise you choose, the most important thing is that you get moving. Your body will thank you.
For more tips on starting an exercise routine, download our free guide to getting fit and active.