Good morning! How is your day going? It’s the first Friday of February and you know what that means. Yep, a health and fitness post. Since it’s the heart month, I’m going to be showing some love for our cardiovascular system by giving you three exercises for a healthy heart and why I recommend them. Ready? Great, let’s go.
Everyone knows that aerobic exercise is the best for a healthy cardiovascular system. When you think of aerobic exercise what do you think of? Do you think of those exercise videos from the 80s and early 90s. Or do you think of something like running? I thinks its kind of funny that running is considered one of the best exercises for a healthy heart. Not because it isn’t a good one, because it is, but as a child I was never allowed to run. I was only allowed to play t-ball because of how little running is actually involved. Of course, for a normal person, running may not be an issue. As I learned a few years ago, running can also be quite enjoyable. However, since I had to look for alternatives, I fell in love with other exercises.
*Unfortunately I am not a doctor and can only suggest these exercises based on my own personal experience. Please consult a doctor or health practitioner before beginning a new health regiment, including any type of exercise.*
Dancing is tied with writing as my number one passion in life. I have loved it since my very first dance class at the age of 11. I will always recommend dancing to people. Always. But how how does it contribute to heart health?
One of the things that is stuck in my mind is oxygen intake. As I explained in my post, Just Breathe, breathing ensures proper blood flow through your body. Your blood is how oxygen gets throughout your body. The heart and the lungs work together to make that happen. The stronger your lungs, the more oxygen you’ll take in; the more your heart pumps, the more blood carrying oxygen will get to through your body.
Dancing is also a type of interval training. By speeding up and slowing down, it trains your heart to work more efficiently.
Dancing also reduces stress and can aid in weight loss. Both of these can contribute to hindered heart function, so less is definitely more in this case.
Did you know that dancing is also linked to diminishing Dementia? It’s true. Look it up.
Why do I recommend Dancing? It can help you express yourself in a way that other forms might not. It also increases awareness of your body and how it works together as a whole. It is a good all-around workout for your heart and body.
Swimming is so fun. My ideal day would involve a good body of water that I can pop into and pretend I’m a mermaid. Yes, even as a responsible adult with two kids, I still pretend I’m a mermaid.
Obviously, swimming has a lot of the same benefits as dance. It improves blood circulation, reduces stress levels, and strengthens the heart with interval training. However, because the water is more buoyant, it has a lower impact on the rest of the body. This would be beneficial for people who have had joint issues or weak bones.
Swimming in cold water will make your heart work more as it has to warm your blood. This will also strengthen the heart as a whole.
Swimming is beneficial for all ages and fitness levels.
Why do I recommend Swimming: Because it’s fun. It can spark the imagination and help with creativity. It is a great way to help support your body as you train it to become stronger.
I think Pilates and Yoga are so similar to each other that I’m listing them together. While Yoga may have more of a spiritual aspect, they both focus on strength and flexibility. For the record, I have done both and that is my personal observation.
You might not think of Pilates or Yoga as aerobic since they’re not really in the same class as other aerobic exercises, but they still provide the same benefits as the others. If you don’t think they work the heart, then you’ve never done a proper vinyasa or plank hold. Yes. I am serious.
Most Pilates and Yoga classes involve holds and repetition. This makes their pace slower, but the heart is still pumping away. It’s still working with the lungs to get more oxygen to the rest of your body. You are still lowering bad cholesterol levels and working on weight control. Like dancing, you are working on your muscle health and flexibility, which is important for the whole body to work together.
Since Pilates and Yoga can be slower than other aerobic exercises, they are excellent options for those who are just starting out on their exercise journey.
Why do I recommend Pilates/Yoga? While it may seem boring, repetition is a great tool to make sure you’re doing an exercise correctly. It is another exercise that teaches you to be mindful of your entire body working together. Breathing is a key to both forms, allowing your body to receive a good amount of oxygen.
What type of exercise do you participate in to keep your heart healthy? Is there an exercise you want to try but are hesitant to? Why?
Happy First Friday!