February is American Heart Month, a great reminder to all of us that we should do all we can to ensure we are taking care of what is on the inside as well as the outside. With heart disease plaguing millions of people across the country, it’s important to take time out to discuss steps we can all take to care for our heart and entire cardiovascular system. And some of the best heart-healthy exercises can be done during any weather, indoor or outdoor and completely free (or, at least, very inexpensively). During this important time of year, Core Wellness is asking all of our patients try some heart-healthy exercises to get your blood pumping:
Something as simple as a daily walk around the neighborhood can improve heart health. It increases your heart rate, and improves blood circulation through your body, carrying more oxygen to your organs. Start with walking 30-60 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week.
Ride your bike to work (or the store…or anywhere)
Biking is great exercise because it uses the largest muscle groups the legs, raising your heart rate. Regular biking can reduce your risk of heart disease and is a great stress reliever. If your knees can’t handle a hilly ride, consider trying a stationary bike, which can also be beneficial.
Use the stairs
Although it may take a bit longer, stair climbing is a great way to get your heart rate up. A low impact exercise, stair climbing provides a great aerobic workout for all parts of your body, including your heart, cardiovascular system and muscles around your thighs, hips and calves. And best of all, it’s free!
Another great way to boost your heart rate, jumping rope is cheap, portable and has the potential to burn more calories than jogging. And remember, it’s not about how high you jump: with practice, you shouldn’t come more than one inch off the floor.
Swimming laps or even treading water raises your heart rate, improves heart health, and strengthens muscle tone. It is also gentle on the joints and knees, unlike other higher-impact aerobic work-outs.
And don’t forget…things like eating well, managing stress levels and maintaining a healthy weight are also essential for good heart health, in combination with these kinds of heart-healthy exercises—so it really takes a well-rounded effort to keep our hearts at their best. For more information on how you, personally, can help keep your heart healthy, contact any of the Core Wellness staff and we can discuss ways you can insert heart-happy tactics into your daily routines. Happy heart month!