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Staying strong and active helps keep your heart healthy. Take a look at three types of exercises you can do to help improve your heart health.

How to Improve Heart Health with 3 Types of Exercise 

Staying strong and active is a key tool in keeping your heart healthy and your weight down. The heart lies at the centre of your circulation system, working to pump blood around your body. This helps every part of the body to receive the oxygen and nutrients that it needs. The heart works the same as any other muscle in that it becomes stronger and healthier the more it is utilised. Exercising is a great way to improve heart health as it can help to reduce the heart rate, lower your blood pressure and reduce stress.

If you’re looking to improve your heart health and overall fitness through physical activity, there are three types of exercise that, when combined, can help you achieve this. For those who are spending a lot of time working, you can also take a look at strategies to increase your physical activity in the workplace.

Aerobic Exercise 

Aerobic exercise is any form of cardiovascular conditioning, otherwise known as ‘cardio’. This type of movement and exercise is generally low-to-high impact, with the aim of getting the heart pumping and increasing your breathing. Aerobic exercises include walking, running, swimming, cycling, and using a skipping rope; as well as running sports such as tennis and football.

The aim is to do at least 30 minutes of exercise per day that leaves you slightly out of breath.

Strength Training 

Strength or resistance training uses physical activity to improve the strength and endurance of individual muscle groups. Strength training exercises include working with weights and resistance bands, or using your own body weight through press-ups, pull-ups and squats. For people who are carrying excess body fat – which increases your risk of heart disease – this type of training can reduce fat and create leaner muscle mass. Research has shown that a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training may help raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. 

The Australian Heart Foundation suggests this type of exercise should be done twice a week on non-consecutive days.

Stretching, Flexibility and Balance 

While stretching, flexibility and balance exercises are not directly related to heart health, they are important for your musculoskeletal health. However, strong musculoskeletal health is likely to relieve you from and allow you to move around without joint pain or muscular pain. This contributes to your ability to work on improving your heart health, as strong musculoskeletal health will allow you to continue regular aerobic and strength training exercises. You can perform an array of stretches at home, join a yoga class or even take up Tai Chi, which can help direct you in the best ways to stretch out your body.

These types of exercises should be performed every day and can be done before and/or after your other forms of training.

If you are looking to speak to a qualified exercise physiologist to help you get on your feet and support your return to work journey, please contact us today.

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