A holistic approach to heart health is the need of the hour. Most people are aware that exercise is an important component of heart health and it is necessary to secure good health ins the future. However, not many people are aware of what kind of exercise benefits the heart, and how much is required. This article serves to clear any doubts people might have about their exercise routine.
The Two Main Types Of Exercise
There are two types of exercises that all other exercises come under; aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercises are those workouts that use oxygen to burn carbs and fat for energy. These types of exercises are usually done for a longer period, and steadily increase the heart rate. Aerobic exercises include running, cycling, playing sports, and dancing, among others. Because of their effect on heart rate, aerobic exercises are also called cardio.
Anaerobic exercises on the other hand don’t require oxygen and the muscles directly breakdown carbs for energy. Done in short bursts of intensity, anaerobic activities help build muscle. This type of workout is also called weight/strength training and includes lifting weights, push-ups, crunches, squats, and so on.
Which Type Is Better For The Heart?
From the name cardio, it would seem like this group of exercises are the best for heart health. Cardio workouts do have multiple benefits for the heart and need to be an integral part of your routine.
These Benefits Of Cardio Include:
- The whole body gets a workout
- Cardio increases endurance
- Strengthens the heart muscles
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps in weight loss
- Improves sleep
- Boosts blood circulation
To fully enjoy these benefits and to have a positive effect on heart health, aerobic exercises have to be done at least five days a week for 30 minutes each time.
While aerobic exercise is extremely beneficial for the heart, the importance of anaerobic exercise cannot be ignored. Weight training too has multiple benefits for heart health and should be included as part of the routine.
The Benefits Of Weight Training Include:
- Strengthens major muscles
- Can target individual muscle groups
- Improves bone density
- Promotes lean body mass
- Strengthens heart muscles
Various health advisories recommend 30 minutes of weight training twice a week for the best results.
How Should The Two Be Balanced?
When developing a workout routine, it helps to space out vigorous workouts and give yourself time for recovery. It is a good idea to start exercising every alternate day with half an hour dedicated to cardio. Twice a week you can include weight training.
You can make your routine more interesting by changing the cardio exercise you do each time. If you go for an aerobics class twice a week, the remaining days you can either go for a run, a cycle ride or a dance class. When working with weights, target a different group of muscles each time. The muscle groups include arms, legs, abs, back and shoulder. You can work on each group in rotation.
A Few Things To Remember When You Start Working Out Are:
- Always warm up before a workout
- Hydrate before, during, and after exercising
- Gradually slow down and then stop cardio exercises
- Stretch your muscles after weight training and cardio
A good balance between cardio and weight training works best to help you maintain a healthy heart.