It’s no surprise that exercise and a healthy diet have a huge impact on heart health. Increasingly, studies show staying active is one of the most effective things you can do to keep your heart healthy, and to recover successfully from a cardiovascular event or procedure. 

A regular exercise routine can help lower blood pressure, lessen your risk of developing diabetes, support a healthy body weight, and reduce inflammation. 

Here are some of the key ways exercise supports heart health: 

  • Exercise improves the pumping performance of the heart and the muscles’ ability to pull oxygen out of the blood. This improves your functional capacity – like boosting the horsepower of your metabolic engine! 
  • Being active regularly helps reduce your production of stress hormones that can put extra strain on the brain, heart and endocrine system. 
  • Over time, regular exercise improves the efficiency of your cardiovascular system and helps slow the resting heart rate and can lower your blood pressure 
  • Exercise increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol and helps control low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides, types of unhealthy fats (lipids) found in your blood.  

So, what is the best kind of exercise for heart health? 

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends combining aerobic exercise (like jogging, swimming, biking) with resistance training (moderate exercises with weights). These two types of exercise, done together, produce the greatest benefit for preventing and managing heart disease. 

After checking with your doctor, it’s a good idea to aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days a week. Then add moderate weight training to build muscle endurance twice a week, or enough to cover the major muscle groups.  

Ideas for aerobic exercise 

Walking and running are some of the simplest and most effective forms of exercise for heart health. But anything that gets your heart rate up to a moderate or high level is also effectiveIf you crave more intensity, try mixing it up with a cardio or HIIT fitness class like REGYMEN or BODYATTACK one or two days a week. Spend some time on the cardio machines before your strength training session. Walk, run or swim regularly for funAim for consistent physical activity on a regular basis and you can keep your heart working well.  

What counts as moderate weight training? 

Weight training works to build muscle endurance. It can include multiple sets with free weights, but could also be a round on the strength training machines (try the 20-minute FIT-FIX circuit), or even bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups or planks. Because strength training increases lean muscle mass, it gives your cardiovascular system places to send the blood being pumped. This results in less pressure on your arteries, which helps reduce the chances of heart-related problems. 

Take time to evaluate your routine to see if you can build in more physical activity to keep your heart healthy and happy.  The more active you are, the better you’ll feel and the more chance you have of staving off chronic illnesses or obesity. Make exercise a regular part of your routine and you won’t miss a beat!