Your heart is a muscle.
Your heart is a muscle. And it gets stronger when you lead a healthy lifestyle. Years ago, patients were advised to rest and give up physical activity. But now studies show that regular activity is safe for most people with heart failure. Studies show that people who are deprived of sufficient exercise are twice as likely to have heart disease.
But here's the good news! It's never too late to start exercising.
Before starting an exercise program, consult your doctor. Also consult your doctor if you want to add or change an activity. You may need to have some tests first.
Gradually increase your activity. This is important if you have not been active regularly. This is also relevant if you have stopped being active because of illness.
Choose a simple activity that you enjoy. Do you enjoy walking or biking? Working in the garden? Go fishing, bowling, or swimming? Choosing an activity that you enjoy will help you not give it up.
Walking is always a good choice.
It's easy to find a place to walk indoors or outdoors. Start with five minutes of walking a day. Then gradually increase the walking time each day. Also increase the number of days you walk.
Be sure to warm up and warm down during exercise
Never stop exercising suddenly, as this can cause dizziness. The best way to end a workout is to walk slowly.
Tips for exercising
- Use comfortable walking shoes with good support.
- Wait at least an hour after eating to exercise. You may feel unwell if you exercise on an empty or full stomach.
- Avoid exercising outdoors when it is colder than 4 degrees or warmer than 25 degrees.
- Avoid exercising when there is a lot of smog and high humidity in the air.
- Exercise at a slow and steady pace.
- Avoid activities that require a quick burst of energy.
- Exercise when you have the most energy. For most people with heart failure, this is in the morning.
- Consider exercising with a friend or family member. It's easier to keep exercising with a partner. It can be an enjoyable social pastime.
- Do not exercise if you feel more shortness of breath than usual.
- Do not exercise if you feel very tired.
- Do not exercise if you are sick or have a high fever.
- Do not exercise if you have chest pain or are taking new medicines.
- Rest between exercises. Do not wait until you are exhausted to rest. Alternate rest and activity.
About the benefits of exercise
Even a half-hour walk in the fresh air can bring tremendous benefits to the heart. And if it is practiced regularly, you can count on additional bonuses:
- Active burning of calories and loss of excess weight.
- Reduced blood pressure.
- Reduced levels of "bad" cholesterol in the blood.
- Increased endurance.
- Reducing fatigue when performing routine tasks.
- Improved mood.
Workout plan for heart health
To keep your heart healthy, exercise should be varied, regular, and definitely doable. Your exercise plan should include:
They should be practiced at the beginning of the workout and in the last minutes of the workout. Stretching will prepare your muscles for the workout and allow you to complete the workout effectively.
With regular practice, you will become more flexible, reduce muscle tightness, and improve spinal health. Exercise should be done carefully, as the load should not cause pain.
Great examples are athletic walking, jogging, and cycling. You should move fast enough to increase your heart rate, but still be able to talk freely with someone. If it becomes difficult for you to talk, then the load should be reduced.
For joint problems, sedentary activities such as walking at a moderate pace or swimming are the best choices.
The third important component of the complex of exercises for heart health is strength training. You should do them 2-3 times a week, not more often than every other day, because your muscles need to recover from the effective work.
During the workout you can work with weights and dumbbells, exercise on weight machines or use your own body weight as a load.
How often should I exercise?
Experts recommend a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise. This can be 30 minutes of exercise a day for 5 days.
Over time, you need to increase the duration of the workout or make it more challenging. Note that workouts should be varied, it is not necessary and even ineffective to repeat the same exercises from day to day.
The 8 Best Exercises for Heart Health
While performing these exercises, blood circulation improves, proper diaphragmatic breathing reduces the strain on the heart, and the elasticity of the vascular system increases due to the sequential contraction and relaxation of the muscles.
Each exercise should be repeated 8-12 times, depending on the initial level of training. The ideal number of sets is five per day or until you find it difficult to repeat the exercise without assistance.
- Asana “Downward facing dog”
To do asana stand in a straight posture supported by outstretched arms. Then lift your hips upward as much as possible, bending at the lower back. The body should form a "triangle" shape, with the floor as the basis.
Yoga asans and meditation help control the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which helps to cope with tension and is an effective prevention of heart attack. Regular yoga practice has also been proven to reduce high blood pressure.
If push-ups from the floor or a chair are difficult, you can start doing push-ups from the wall. To do this, place the palms of both hands against the wall and start doing push-ups with force, pushing your body away. As soon as this load becomes feasible, it should be replaced by push-ups from a chair, and then by push-ups from the floor.
During the exercise, you should control the muscles of the back and avoid bending in the lumbar spine.
- Leg lifts
Very simple exercise, which tones up the whole body. Initial position is lying on your back. As you inhale raise your straight legs up so that they form a right angle with the body. As you exhale put the legs down.
It is better to do this exercise on an empty stomach, half an hour before meals or two to three hours after.
In addition to the usual squats with a straight back without support, you can perform squats with weights - with kettlebells or dumbbells. Another effective variant of loading - squats with transferring the weight of the whole body on one of the legs.
The starting position for this exercise is feet at shoulder width. First, the squat is performed, then the body weight is transferred to each leg alternately.
Did you know?
Studies have shown that regular strength training reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 20%.
The American Heart Association recommends it at least twice a week.
- Exercise for the abs.
In addition to stressing the cardiovascular system, this exercise also works the cortex muscles and helps to reduce waist circumference.
You need to lie on your back on a flat surface, with your arms stretched above your head. Bend your legs at the knees. Slowly at first, and then gradually speeding up, you should lift your body and with outstretched arms touch the toes.
- Exercise "Mill"
This exercise develops the flexibility of the back muscles, increases the heart rate and promotes heart health.
To perform it, stand up straight, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms outstretched to the sides. Bend down, turning your body to the right and bending the knee of your left leg. With your left hand touch the floor between your legs, while your right hand should stay up. The gaze should be directed to the right hand. Repeat to the other side.
- Jumping rope
A simple children's pastime is relevant at any age. Experts say that just jumping rope strengthens your heart, increases the body's endurance and helps to increase muscle mass. This is enough to keep your body in shape.
- Climbing stairs
If you live in an apartment building and bypass the elevator, you stand a good chance of avoiding heart disease. To do this, you should take the stairs every day, getting to the top floor if possible.
Exercise always begins with going down at a moderate pace. Only after that can you start "conquering" heights. Note that the more muscles are involved, the more active the heart is, feeding them.
How to train the heart correctly to prevent cardiovascular diseases?
Training the heart involves the following rules:
You need to watch your heart rate
The readings should be average between the pulse rate in a calm state and its limit value during intensive exertion. It is approximately 120-130 beats per minute. But in different people, this figure may vary upward or downward. You can calculate the average value by measuring your resting heart rate and the peak of your exercise. By adding and dividing by 2 these values, you can find the desired heart rate during the workout.
Increase your heart rate to an average value gradually
When it reaches the desired level, you should maintain it by maintaining the same pace of exercise.
The duration of the workout should be at least 60 minutes.
This will contribute to the development of endurance.
Exercise should be regular.
If not every day, then at least 3-4 times a week.
If you follow these rules, the heart will pump more blood, supplying the whole body with oxygen. In addition, it will need fewer contractions at rest, which will significantly prolong its life expectancy.
What are the risks of excessive strain on the heart?
If you do not monitor your heart rate during exercise, there is a risk of exceeding its average value. This runs the risk that instead of increasing the volume of the heart, its walls will be enlarged. The reason for this is a overstrain of the heart muscle, which works at a breakdown and has no time to relax. This process is irreversible and leads to the death of heart cells.
If there are already dead cells in the heart, it is possible to train only those that have not yet been touched by hypertrophy. Athletes who haven't given enough attention and strength to proper exercise are at risk.
Therefore, the training of the heart and the prevention of its diseases should be carried out in a timely manner. In addition, one should not forget about proper nutrition, adequate sleep and saturation of the body with vitamins and minerals. Following a healthy lifestyle will help to avoid problems with the cardiovascular system.
How Sports Change the Heart: Safe Fitness Rules
Physical activity helps to strengthen the heart, has a beneficial effect on its work and endurance. Moreover, it is hypodynamia - the lack of adequate physical activity - is one of the risk factors for heart and vascular disease.
Fitness rules for a healthy heart
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the intensity of exercise. If they are, it is better to give preference to smaller loads.
Excess body weight itself places an increased load on the heart, as it must supply blood to more tissues. If the myocardium is not trained, but is under such a strain, intense fitness can harm the heart.
Diseases of the cardiovascular system
The danger is that many of them are asymptomatic in their early stages - a person does not even suspect their presence. Therefore, you should have a cardiologic examination before you sign up for sports.
Smoking, alcohol, fatty foods, overeating
All this gives an increased load on the heart, so it is better to give up bad habits - they are incompatible with sports.
Emotional stress, as well as physical stress, increases heart rate. Therefore, it is better to begin your training with relaxing exercises and switch to intensive loads only after the heart rate is normalized.
If the increased loads for untrained muscles end in crepature (delayed muscle pain syndrome), the heart may react with different malfunctions - heart rhythm disturbances, increased blood pressure, etc.
That is why it is more important to train your heart on a systematic basis than on the maximum possible intensity.
The optimal type of exercise for "heart patients" is aerobic activity: Nordic walking, walking, dancing and even cycling. Aerobic exercise involves more muscle groups, which allows you to keep your body in shape without getting too tired. Don't forget to "listen" to your own body: pain and a pulling feeling in the heart area is an alarming sign.
Relieve stress with a walk
Excitement in heart disease is dangerous, and physical activity releases endorphins, which have a beneficial effect on the nervous system.
Pay attention to your diet
First of all it concerns the products with saturated fats and lack of vitamins and minerals. Include lean fish, oatmeal, and vegetables in your daily allowance, as well as special "heart" vitamins.
Drink enough fluids, especially in the summer heat and in the winter, when signals of lack of water can often be mistaken for appetite.
Slow down your pace if you are walking uphill and don't build your exercise routine solely on isometric exercises (squats, push-ups, etc.).
Buy a bracelet to measure your heart rate
This is convenient not only for monitoring the state of your heart, but also for maintaining an optimal pace while walking.
Interrupt exercise if you feel sick
Viral illnesses often give complications to the heart, so during this period you need to treat yourself carefully and not let your body be "distracted" by sports. You can return to exercise only after 1-2 weeks after a full recovery. You should start training with a reduced load and a relaxed pace.