Heart disease is a significant global health concern, as it causes numerous deaths worldwide every year. Heart failure treatment typically involves medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery (in severe cases). Regular exercise is one of the most effective ways to prevent heart failure, heart valve disease, and other cardiovascular ailments.
The right exercises can alleviate heart failure symptoms and improve overall cardiovascular health. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Additionally, two days of moderate- or high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity per week is also recommended.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the best exercises that improve heart health. But let’s first understand how being physically active impacts the heart.
The Role of Exercise in Heart Failure Prevention
Exercise is crucial to preventing heart disease by improving cardiovascular fitness, controlling weight, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and improving insulin sensitivity. It also helps minimize stress and elevate mood.
Regular exercise can help lower the risk of heart disease by up to 50%. Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling, and running are particularly effective in improving cardiovascular fitness and reducing the risk of heart disease.
However, if you’ve been diagnosed with heart failure or any other cardiovascular disease, you should consult a heart disease specialist to plan your exercise routine. They’ll help you understand the risks and benefits of different types of exercise.
Exercises for a Health-Healthy Lifestyle
Whether you want to exercise for heart failure prevention or to embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle, here are a few ideas to help you get started:
Walking is a simple, low-impact way to get your heart rate up. Brisk walking is a great form of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise that people of all ages and fitness levels can do. A brisk walk is defined as walking at a pace that makes you slightly out of breath and raises your heart rate.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk walking most days of the week. You can also try brisk and slower walking intervals to get your heart rate up even more. Walking is a great way to clear your mind, reduce stress, and improve your overall well-being.
Swimming is an excellent type of aerobic exercise that is easy on the joints. It is particularly beneficial for people with arthritis, or other joint problems, as the buoyancy of the water helps to reduce the impact on the joints. Swimming also helps improve cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. Aim for at least 30 minutes of swimming most days of the week.
Cycling is another great form of aerobic exercise that you can do indoors or outdoors. It helps improve cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength. Cycling is also a great way to enjoy some quiet time outdoors amidst nature. Aim for at least 30 minutes of cycling most days of the week.
Resistance training, such as weightlifting or bodyweight exercises, helps build muscle mass and improve muscle strength. This type of exercise is particularly beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of heart disease. Aim for at least two days of resistance training per week.
Stretching helps improve flexibility and range of motion, which can help prevent injury and improve overall physical function. It is particularly beneficial for people who lead sedentary lifestyles and older adults. Aim for at least 10 minutes of stretching after each workout.
Regular exercise is an essential part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Incorporating a variety of activities such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling, resistance training, strength training, and stretching can help achieve better heart health and keep heart failure causes at bay.
Always consult with a heart specialist before starting an exercise program, especially if you have any known health issues. Regular exercise, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle choices, can help reduce the risk of heart disease and improve overall cardiovascular health.
Dr. C Raghu is one of the best cardiologists in India who has treated thousands of patients with cardiovascular ailments. If you’re looking for the best cardiologist in Hyderabad and learn more about heart disease treatment options, feel free to reach out to Dr. Raghu today.