Our heart is just a fist-size muscle in our body but we all know that its job to keep blood flowing in our system is but vital in our lives.
If you read the previous article about Happy Heart, Happy Life: A Woman’s Perspective; you would understand the deeper dynamics of the heart for us women. And for you men, knowing these facts would also help taking good care of the woman of your lives.
So question is, what else can we do more to keep our hearts, both men and women, fit and healthy? Fitness is a rising priority for anyone this days. We can instantly find fitness gyms, yoga classes, slimming pills, diet plans, and all sorts of tools to help us achieve our desired weight and body. But do we ever think of our heart when doing all these fitness efforts for our body?
If you are looking for simple ways how to keep the heart fit, then I suggest you to continue reading. Whether you are a stay at home kind of person, or a person who is always on the go, this time saving, little lifestyle adjustment can truly give your life a boost in a the long run.
The simple, do it yourself Heart Exercise program
We put forth here two different possibilities for exercise programs:
1. Minimal healthy-heart exercise program
2. Optimal healthy-heart exercise program
These two programs are good way to start for extreme fitness regimes. Do remember that the key to achieving results starts from discipline and starting by following easy and simple routines such as this.
To come out with meaningful results for your cardiovascular system and reduce your risk of heart disease significantly, your level of exercise should fall somewhere on the spectrum between the two program levels. Minimal is fine, especially as a first step. It is not good to jump from being sedentary to suddenly committing to intensive activity. Its best to progress between minimal to optimal slowly rather than doing damage to your body by trying to take a short cut. The more you do, the better it will be but its the persistence, consistency and accuracy that matters the most.
Below are some things you can do:
Minimal Exercise Program at a Glance
* Aerobics: 30 minutes at a time, three days a week, or
15 minutes at a time, six days a week.
* Flexibility ( Stretching ) : 5 minutes following every exercise session
Optimal Exercise Program at a Glance
* Aerobics: 30 or more minutes at a time, five to six days a week
* Strength Training: 30 minutes at a time, two to three days a week.
* Flexibility ( Stretching ) : 5 minutes following every exercise session
For some of us, this program may look daunting and its totally normal to feel that way. You may never have exercised regularly this way before, or it may be a long time since you did. For that reason, we cannot emphasize enough that the long-term success is well worth all the effort. Every little change that you make pays off in the end and we strongly recommend not to do things deliberately and not to push yourself too hard but just take it slow and steady.
This program encourages you to increase the duration and intensity of your exercise a little bit at a time. That will keep you from burning out and injuring yourself. Remember to talk to your doctor first before undertaking the program and make sure you are aware of what you are capable to do before diving into the routine. And for the aerobics exercise, in particular, pick exercises that you love to do; this will encourage you further to stick with the program.
Stair climbing, Stairmaster, Stationary bicycle, Treadmill
Walking, Running, Cycling, Rowing
Kickboxing, Swimming, Skipping rope, Jumping jacks, Jogging
Some of us choose brisk walking because you do not have to go to the gym to do it and because everybody knows how to walk. It is not something you have to learn or get better at. But if you are a person who loves swimming or biking or hiking and other else, go for it,this is also another form of helpful exercise you can indulge with. Or if you want, you can do some brisk walking combined with another aerobic activity.
Cross-training might be best for someone who likes to swim or exercise on a bicycle. Walking and running, unlike swimming and biking, are weight bearing exercises, meaning you need to carry your body as you perform the activity. You have an advantage in that, unlike activities in which you sit or are carried by water, they help maintain the strength of your bones.
If you are starting from a scratch, do not go for 30 minutes of aerobics all at once. Begin with short bouts ( at least 10 to 15 minutes in duration) and only half the strength training of the routine and work out from there. Again, the most important thing is the consistency.
If you are struggling to start, this should not be the reason to tell yourself not to bother, instead, be more motivated start and finish your program. Remember that starting is the hardest part but if you get past that, for sure, you can keep up with future challenges. Just keep building on it little by little, individualizing the program so that you stay committed, and continue to build on what you have accomplished.
No matter what your initial level of activity and how slowly you proceed, in just a couple of weeks your endurance and strength will increase. Within six weeks, added vigor and vitality kicks in.
Warming up and Cooling down
One last bit of preparation before you begin the actual program is to know the importance of warming up and cooling down. You may not be aware but most of the injuries result from the body, muscle and connective tissue specifically. This is due to failure to warm up or cool down adequately.
To warm up and avoid hurting yourself, do three to five minutes of low-intensity walking, dancing, calisthenics, or riding of a stationary bike before you actually begin the exercise. If you want to engage yourself with the milder version you plan, you can engage in walking before running, or cycling slowly before going to greater intensity.
A low-intensity warm-up increases muscle and tendon elasticity which considered as the “rubber bands” of our body will have more give, and that in turn decreases the chance of one of them snapping. Your vascular system such your heart will also be ready for the work out. They will not have to go for a higher gear all at once.
A proper cool down is just as critical for safe exercising. It allows your body to return slowly to its resting estate. Your heart rate will decrease gradually as will your blood pressure, easing stress on your system. And, when you cool down properly, the blood in your legs will slowly be shifted back to the rest of your body. Five minutes of light activity- the other bookend around your exercise session, will suffice as a cool down.
If your exercise session is strength training rather than aerobics, a good cool down is stretching, which takes care of cooling down and flexibility at the same time.
With the right program to follow, there is nothing hard in exercising. You see, you need to be motivated to achieve the goal you have set. As you have learned, exercise is not just moving your body to stay fit and healthy but rather, a system where there are things you need to follow and adhere to make it effective.
Exercising can give harm to you when you are not in the proper track. To be sure that you have the right plan to follow, consult someone who has knowledge and experience about it. Also, do not forget to consult your doctor first and foremost to be sure that you can do exercises of your choice. It is still best if we take precaution before indulging ourselves into a certain activity to be sure that we will not unwanted consequences from it.
Don’t pressure yourself but always maintain the drive and discipline not to give up. In long term, it will be just a regular activity that you can easily go by daily. Good luck!