Physical activity is one of the best gifts you can give your heart. According to Johns Hopkins research, a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a Mediterranean-style diet, keeping a normal weight, and quitting smoking offers the best defense against coronary artery disease and vascular disease. You burn the most calories and fat in this area. Cardio exercise also leads to an increase in the number of capillaries and in their density. This leads to better oxygenation and nutrient delivery to the heart and other organs, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Cardiovascular exercise keeps your heart rate at least 50% above its highest level while putting your body’s big muscles through sustained motion. With regular aerobic exercise, your cardiovascular system will be stronger, and your muscles’ cells will receive more oxygen thanks to more capillaries. With each session, your endurance and stamina will also improve.
Cardio exercise has a variety of benefits, including:
- Strengthens the heart muscle: Regular cardio exercise makes the heart muscle stronger and more efficient at pumping blood. This can help lower the resting heart rate and improve cardiovascular fitness.
- Lowers blood pressure: Cardio exercise can help to lower blood pressure by widening the blood vessels and allowing blood to flow more easily. This can help to reduce the strain on the heart and decrease the risk of heart disease.
- Improves circulation: Cardio exercise improves circulation by increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients delivered to the body’s cells. This can help to improve overall health and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.
- Helps to reduce the risk of heart disease: Regular cardio exercise can help to reduce the risk of heart disease by improving cardiovascular fitness and reducing the risk factors associated with heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.
The guiding principles for effective cardiovascular exercise are as follows:
1. Begin slowly
Start easy. Take a 5-minute walk in the morning and another 5 minutes in the evening, for instance. After that, progressively add a few minutes and quicken the pace over time. You will quickly feel at ease walking for 30 minutes each day. Make sure to start by thinking about the things that interest you and that you can accomplish without worrying about money or time. Hiking, jogging, cycling, rowing, running, and elliptical training are all suitable exercises. Remember that any exercise that makes you breathe harder and beat faster counts!
2. Heat up
Spend the first five to ten minutes of each workout gently waking up your heart and improving blood flow to your muscles. You perform a lower-intensity version of the cardio exercise you intend to perform as part of your warm-up. For instance, you can warm up slowly if you want a vigorous stroll.
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Make sure to condition your body so you can perform at least 30 minutes of cardio daily while moving at your own pace. For cardio to benefit you, you need to increase your heart rate, breathing depth, and muscular endurance to the point where you can comfortably engage in your preferred activity for at least 30 minutes.
4. Become calm
Spend 5–10 minutes cooling down after each session. Stretching your calf muscles, upper thighs (quadriceps), lower back, hamstrings, and chest will help you chill down. Your muscles, lungs, and heart rate can easily return to normal after this post-workout stretch.
It is recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio per week, or a combination of both, as well as two days of muscle-strengthening activities. However, it’s always best to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
Being physically active is a key component of having a healthy heart. It’s one of your best weapons for protecting your arteries from damage caused by excessive cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure that can cause a heart attack or stroke, strengthening your heart muscle, and managing your weight.