Fitness for Heart Health – How are They Connected, (and What You Need to Watch For!)
The new year has arrived and… the time for fitness EVERYTHING is here too!
It is at the start of a brand-new year that we truly begin to review our past and assess what we want to change for the months and years to come. Do we want to lose a few pounds? Get stronger? Eat healthier? Learn to like running? Whatever your health and fitness goals are for the year, getting healthy through fitness is a superb goal! As you begin your new fitness and exercise regime, it is important to also understand how fitness affects your overall health. Particularly, your heart health! Want to know how they are connected and what you need to watch out for? Here is your guide to fitness for heart health!
Why Exercise is Good for Your Heart
If we asked you to run in place as fast as you could for 1 minute, guaranteed you would feel your heart rate accelerate and your pulse quicken. This reaction to the exercise is a result of your heart working hard to help YOU work hard. No matter what fitness exercises you decide to take part in, your heart will always be there with you!
So, why is exercise worth the sore muscles, sweat, and energy? When you dedicate yourself to continuous and regular exercise, you burn more calories and work towards strengthening your muscles for other activities! What does this mean? It means that when you are moving, sweating, and burning calories you are:
- losing excess fat
- lowering high blood pressure levels
- reducing bad cholesterol levels (called LDL)
- reducing stress hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol)
- reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
- reducing the risk of developing heart disease
- and more!
What do all of these things have to do with your heart? EVERYTHING! By exercising (typically through cardio exercises) you can drastically improve the strength and overall health of your heart! When you take the time to add fitness for heart health in your day, you will rid your body of the bad stuff (LDL cholesterol, stress hormones, etc.) and strengthen your heart. This will allow it to pump blood through your body better, maintain health and happiness, and keep you alive longer!
The Fitness for Heart Health RISKS
With every type of exercise there are risks you need to be aware of. Just as they explain in your gym orientation how it is important to ask for help to ensure you are using equipment correctly, the same goes for your heart! If not monitored carefully (particularly high intensity and cardio exercises), exercise can have some devastating effects for your heart.
If an exercise pushes a heart too hard (for example, running long distances without prior training), the risk of suffering a heart attack and cardiac arrest increases (also the reason why it is crucial for fitness centers, gyms, and recreation centers to carry a defibrillator!). This doesn’t mean that you should avoid the treadmill or limit your time spent working out. It simply means that you need to be aware of YOUR OWN limits and take care of yourself to avoid pushing too hard. So, how do you avoid potential heart emergencies? The best way to do accomplish quality fitness for heart health is to practice, train, and strengthen. Prepare your body (and heart) by easing yourself into exercises, creating a regular workout schedule, resting when your body needs it, and eating healthy! Do this and your heart will stay happy!
Still a little nervous? Not sure you know your limits? A great way to ensure your heart is able to handle the pace is to wear a heart rate monitor! This fitness heart technology is a strap that monitors your heart throughout your workout and sends the information to your mobile device. Another way to ease the stress is to verify that your gym or fitness centre has an AED. By having a defibrillator close by, the survival rate of anyone suffering a cardiac arrest will DOUBLE! Speak with your fitness centre to guarantee there are safety precautions should things take a turn for the worst!
Best Exercises for Your Heart!
According to Statistics Canada, only 16% of Canadian adults are getting enough exercise. It is recommended that you exercise about 150 minutes each week! Ready to change that statistic? Time to get exercising! Every exercise you do, whether it be yoga, running on the treadmill, or taking time to meditate, will require the use of your heart. The more you use it and strengthen it, the healthier you will be! Looking for some heart healthy exercises that will keep your blood pumper in shape?
- WARM UPS! – Start every workout with a quick warm up to get your body and heart ready for action.
- Yoga – Help your heart by reducing the stress hormones and get an amazing stretch.
- Brisk Walking – Go out daily to stretch the legs and start pumping that heart.
- Swimming – Get the blood flowing, and boost your cardio while improving muscle strength.
- Resistance Training – Tone your body, reduce body fat, and reduce the risk for heart disease.
Find the exercise that works best for you that will help you accomplish your goals while keeping your heart healthy!
Now that you know how fitness helps (and affects) your heart, it is time to take the year by force! Grab those running shoes and your water bottle, and whether you like to run, jump, lift, swim, or cycle your way through a workout, start using fitness for heart health to achieve an improved quality of life!