Now that summer is finally here, it’s a good time to get more active and your heart will thank you for it.
Your heart has the endless job of moving oxygen and nutrient-rich blood through your body. Regular activity can improve your heart’s tone, strength and function.
When you work out, your body’s muscles need more oxygen, causing your heart to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. The more you frequent you work out, the stronger your heart becomes. Your blood circulation gets better and better as your heart’s fitness improves. Then your resting heart rate -which is the number of times your heart beats when you are not active -will most likely decrease.
Some other benefits of being active are reduced blood pressure, decreased cholesterol, less stress, a better well-being and a decrease in weight.
The best way to better your heart’s fitness is through aerobic activities like running, swimming, jogging and dancing. If you have never been active or haven’t been active in awhile, it is suggested that you see your doctor. After a clean bill of health, you and your doctor can design a program that suits your fitness level and lifestyle.
In the beginning, start with low-intensity exercises such as walking, cycling or dancing. Gradually try to work your way up to at least 30 minutes a day on most or everyday. As you become stronger, try to get on a moderate intensity level so that your heart will benefit more. A moderate level could mean walking for one person and jogging for another.
Aim for your target heart rate in order to give your heart a good workout. Your heart rate is a percentage of your heart’s maximum beats per minute. To find yours, subtract your age from 220. Aim for a rate that is 50 to 75 percent of your maximum. Take your pulse for 10 seconds or use a heart rate monitor and then multiply that number by 6. If it is too slow, step up your pace or intensity. If it is too fast, take it easier.
As your heart gets used to working harder, try to do more intense and longer workouts. See you at the gym!