HEART HEALTH

5 Best Exercises to Strengthen Your Heart: A Guide You Can Follow

Exercising strengthens heart muscles and also improves circulation

Do aerobic exercises, strength training and stretching to better heart health

Squats, walking, cycling and yoga are some of the best heart exercises

D
Dr. Naresh Babu
June 30th, 2021
9 mins read

Your heart is the powerhouse that keeps your body going. By pumping blood, it provides other organs with the nutrition and oxygen that they need. If your heart isn’t working optimally, it impacts your overall health. Conditions such as obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure increase the stress on your heart. High pressure can eventually lead to a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular diseases. So, to care for your heart exercise regularly. 

Exercising tackles obesity, high cholesterol, high BP and even conditions like diabetes. It strengthens and builds heart muscles, and helps your arteries dilate more easily. In other words, your heart is able to pump blood more effortlessly. 

Research indicates that just 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week is enough. It will improve your heart’s health and also lower your risk of heart disease. So, take a look at the forms of exercise good for heart health, and how to perform specific heart strengthening exercises. 

healthy heart

Best exercise for heart health

Do a combination of these 3 forms of exercise for good heart health,

Aerobic exercises 

Aerobic exercises are more commonly known as cardio exercises. They are considered to be the best exercise for heart health. This is because they get your heart rate up and help you sweat. Over time, aerobic exercises help you lose weight, lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation. Another excellent benefit is that they enhance how well your heart pumps. This is known as an improvement in cardiac output. Pick aerobic activities if you are looking for an exercise for heart and lungs to improve their efficiency. 

Strength or resistance training 

To keep your heart strong exercise diligently, especially if you’re overweight. In addition to cardiovascular exercises, do strength training. Also known as resistance training, this form of exercise reduces fat. In combination with aerobic exercises, strength training also lowers cholesterol. 

While strength training is immensely beneficial, keep these two points in mind. 

  • Focus on all areas of your body, not just your thighs or belly. 
  • Do strength training exercises 2 to 3 times a week. But, don’t do so on consecutive days. 

Stretching and flexibility 

To avoid heart problems, exercise and stretch as well. Focusing on stretching and flexibility offers indirect benefits. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can prevent muscle cramps, stiff joints, and other aches and pains. As a result, you’ll be able to continue with aerobic exercises and strength training. Think of it as a primer that will help you perform the best exercise for healthy heart. 

best practices for a healthy heart

5 best exercises to strengthen your heart

Now that you know of beneficial workouts, take a look at specific exercises that you can add to your routine. 

Walking  

Walking briskly is the simplest aerobic exercise. You don’t have to invest in any equipment; just wear a pair of good walking shoes. You can walk outdoors or indoors, depending on what you prefer. If you want to do a heart exercise at home, follow walking exercise videos. They combine brisk walking with basic hand and leg movements. 

Cycling 

Search for ‘exercise heart health’ and one of the options you’ll find is cycling. It is an excellent alternative to walking. It betters circulation and reduces blood fat levels. Additionally, it strengthens your heart muscles and improves lung function too. You can cycle outdoors or use a stationary exercise bike.

Squats 

You can perform resistance training using weights or your own body weight. Squats are an example of the latter. To perform a squat correctly, follow these steps. 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width or hip-width apart. 
  • Turn out your toes slightly, about 15°. 
  • Straighten your arms in front of your chest. Clasp your hands for better balance. 
  • Lower your hips as if you are sitting on a chair. 
  • As a beginner, squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Go further if possible. 
  • Keep your back straight, chest open and relax your shoulders. 
  • Press your heels into the floor and come back to the starting position.  
  • Ensure that your hips are not protruding backwards when you do so.

Push-ups 

A push-up is another exercise that uses your body weight to create resistance. To perform a push-up correctly, follow these steps. 

  • Perform this exercise on a mat if you are a beginner. It will give you better cushioning and grip. 
  • Get down on all fours. Ensure that your knees are below your hip and your palms are under your shoulders. 
  • Then, adjust your palms so that they are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. 
  • Straighten your legs so that your weight is on your toes and palms.  
  • Your back and legs should form a straight line. 
  • Tighten your core, bend your arms and bring your chest as close to the floor as possible. 
  • Your elbows should now be at a 90° angle. 
  • Then, push your palms into the mat and raise your chest. This way you can come back to the starting position. 

Yoga  

Yoga is a low-impact exercise that builds flexibility and balance. Moreover, it also helps you stretch. To get these benefits, practise poses such as malasanaadho mukha svanasana and setu bandha sarvangasana. You can also try pranayama if you’re looking for a breathing exercise for heart. 

While exercising undoubtedly improves heart health, if you suffer from heart conditions, consult with a doctor regularly. This way you can stay ahead of complications. Also, you can get answers to queries such as: ‘What is the best exercise for heart patients?’ ‘Which exercise for heart blockages can I perform?’ 

With the Bajaj Finserv Health, you can find a doctor for such needs effortlessly. View specialists in your city and book an online or in-person appointment. In the process, get access to special deals and offers.

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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