Curious about the best exercise to look after your heart health?
Curious about the best exercise for heart health?
Here’s my really simple guide on what you need to do to keep your heart healthy.
The exercise guidelines for heart health are at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (aka cardio) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise every single week.
But what exactly does that mean?
Well, moderate exercise is anything that raises your heart rate but it still feels within your comfort zone. So you can talk, but you can’t sing! Think brisk walking, cycling, dancing, walking up hill, tennis.
Doing this for 30 minutes, 5 times a week will get you to your 150 minutes. And you can even break this down to smaller chunks. So a 10 minute brisk walk in the morning, afternoon and evening will also work well.
Vigorous exercise is anything that makes you breath fast, so you might be able to answer a question in a word or two but not a sentence. Activities like running, high intensity classes, skipping, football, cycling hard or hiking uphill.
Doing this for 15 minutes, 5 times a week will get you to your 75 minutes.
But remember, both are good, so feel free to mix it up.
It may be a surprise that strength or resistance exercises can be beneficial to your heart health. But by getting the whole body strong you are also supporting your heart.
Strength or resistance training is anything that works with a resistance. This can be using weights, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are a beginner then bodyweight and resistance bands can be a good way to start.
For heart and general health you need to do a full body workout (so upper and lower body) twice a week. These should be spread across the week, not done two days in a row.
Flexibility and Balance
Although these types of exercise don’t directly contribute to your heart health, they help in other, crucial ways.
Keeping flexible will help you to move with ease, meaning you can maintain and improve your aerobic and strength work.
Balance work will help prevent falls and trips, which could lead to injury and stop you being so active.
You don’t need to do these as separate workouts, although things like tai chi, yoga and Pilates are fantastic to do. You can add flexibility to your aerobic and strength training by putting aside 5 minutes at the end of a session to do some cool down stretches.
And for balance, how about giving yourself a daily balance challenge? Balance on one leg for as long as you can. I often suggest balancing whilst the kettle is boiling to my clients.
Move more and sit less
But looking after our heart health is not just about the time we put aside for exercise.
By being more active during the day, instead of being sedentary, we can massively improve our health and well being.
That’s not to say I think you need to be on the move the whole day! We also need time for recovery and rest. But small actions during the day add up. The more we move, the more we keep ourselves healthy.
So if you realise you’ve been sitting down for most of the morning, get up and move around!
With these four simple changes you’ll be well on your way to more energy, better health, and a stronger heart.
And if you’re looking for a simple and straightforward way to improve your health my coaching will give you the support and guidance you need. Just get in touch if you want to know more.