9 Heart-Friendly Valentine's Day Exercises You Can Try Right Now
7 minute read
Heart disease is one of the top causes of death in the United States, so it is time to start showing our hearts some love. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there is no better time than now to start promoting better heart health.
With a few small lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk for heart disease. The bests change to make involve getting active, and there are specific exercises you can do just for your heart.
Moving Towards Heart Health
Cardio (aerobic) exercise is one of the best ways to boost heart health. According to the American Heart Association, all you need is 30 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise, to ward of heart disease.
You don’t even have to do the whole 30 minutes at once if you have a packed schedule. Break the time up into smaller 10- or 15-minute sessions. What matters to your heart is staying active each day.
1. Take a Walk
Walking is the number-one exercise for heart health. The best part about walking is that it can be done at any time of day, and you can change up the scenery often.
Start walking as a part of your commute or take a walk on your lunch break. You can even switch out driving to the local stores for a walk instead (as long as you don’t have too many bags to carry).
Walking exercises large muscle groups at the same time in a continuous manner, making it ideal for your heart and overall health.
2. Ride Your Bike
The repetitive pumping action bike riding puts your leg muscles through is great for your heart, and cycling is one of the best anti-aging exercises too. You get the same benefits with your bike or a stationary version, so do what fits best with your routine.
If you can swap driving to work with cycling, give it a try a few times a week. Remember to check the position of pedals and seats to ensure they are adjusted for your body so as to prevent injury.
3. Climb the Stairs
Aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate between 50 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate provides the best for your heart. Climbing stairs is the best way to reach these levels.
You don’t have to get to a gym for the stair equipment; you can exercise using the stairs you have at home. Calculate your ballpark maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. That is the rate to aim for.
If you don’t feel like counting, just assume you have reached this if you cannot hold a conversation while exercising.
4. Go for a Swim
Not only is swimming one of the most popular sports activities in the country, it is also one of the best activities for heart health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, swimming for two and a half hours per week gives your heart all the aerobic benefits it needs.
Swimming is also a beneficial in that you can exercise fully without putting unnecessary stress on your bones and joints. For those with extra weight or arthritis, swimming is the best exercise for getting healthier and promoting heart health.
5. Water Aerobics
If swimming laps is not your thing, you can try a water aerobics class and get the same great aerobic workout with the same support of the water. Those with arthritis or other joint issues or injuries as well as those who are overweight benefit from the water support.
You can exercise without feeling physical strain which makes water aerobics both enjoyable and beneficial. Along with helping your heart, aquatic exercises can also improve joint health and promote healthy weight loss.
6. Try an Elliptical
Elliptical training machines are one of the fastest growing and most popular forms of aerobic exercise today. You can find them at every gym and can even buy your own.
The reason ellipticals are so great for your heart is because they work both upper and lower body regions. Moving your arms gets blood flowing to your back and shoulders, and the leg cycles are less strenuous than cycling.
You get a full body workout in less time and your heart soaks up all the benefits.
7. Dance Your Troubles Away
Dancing is a beneficial aerobic activity and probably the most fun. With the right footwear and the right tunes you can dance your way to a healthier heart in no time.
| Related: The 21-Day Walking Challenge Is the Exercise Secret for Beginners |
Whether you join a Zumba or ballroom dancing class or just find time to dance on your own, the benefits of dancing are both physical and mental. You can have the time of your life, dance stresses away, and boost heart health simultaneously.
8. Chill With Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a low-impact aerobic exercise that boosts heart health and mental health. Based on ancient meditation techniques and martial arts, the gentle movements of Tai Chi and deep breathing bring cardiovascular support as well as mental clarity.
9. Nintendo Wii Workout
Video games and exercise have recently combined to give you interactive workout games or programs. The Wii from Nintendo and other motion-controlled video game setups offer boxing, tennis, soccer, and much more all from the comfort of your living room.
You make all the actions you would playing the real sport and work up just as much sweat. You need to play for at least 30 minutes a day to get the full aerobic and heart benefits. The best part is that you can probably get the kids interested too.
The Bottom Line
Poor diet and lack of exercise are the top factors that contribute to heart disease, and both are in your control. With a healthy, balanced diet and regular heart health exercises, your heart can become stronger and your risk for heart attack, stroke, or heart disease decreases.
Make Valentine’s Day a day to mark the start of loving your heart. The more love you show your heart, the longer it can give love and life right back.