Virtual Imaging: Early Detection Saves Lives. Imagery of two elderly couples jogging outside and smiling.

Exercises to Keep Your Heart at its Healthiest

Your heart is one big muscle. Like other muscles, your cardiac muscle gets stronger when you exercise. Certain exercises are better for your heart muscle than others.

To keep your heart strong, the American Heart Association suggests you get at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate exercise. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous exercises. Aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. You can even split the 30 minutes into three 10-minute exercise sessions, if you like.

Raising your heart rate is the only way to exercise your cardiac muscle. Aerobic exercise, also known as “cardio,” is any exercise that causes your heart to work hard to deliver oxygen to your muscles. Aerobic exercise increases your pulse and breathing rate throughout the entire session.

To gain the best heart health benefit, you will need to keep your heart beating rapidly as you exercise. To determine your best heart rate during aerobic exercise, you will need to perform an easy calculation. Find your maximum heart rate (MHR) by subtracting your age from 220. If you are 50 years old, for example, your MHR is 170. During aerobic exercise, your heart rate should be between 55 and 85 percent of your MHR. This means that, if your MHR is 170, you should keep your heart rate somewhere between 93 and 144 heartbeats per minute while you exercise.

Heart-Healthy Exercises

Believe it or not, any exercise that raises your pulse is good for your heart muscle. Taking a half-hour brisk walk can do the trick; doing housework can also give you a cardio workout, as long as you put a lot of energy into cleaning.

You can engage in aerobic exercise during every season of the year. In winter, try raking leaves, shoveling snow, ice skating, sledding, skiing, or snowshoeing. Be sure to dress in layers for protection from frostbite and hypothermia. Hit the fitness club or home exercise equipment when winter weather prevents outdoor exercise.

Your fitness club or home exercise equipment makes working out in the summer easier too, especially in air conditioning. Spinning, cycling, swimming, brisk walking or hiking, and jogging or running activities are perfect aerobic workouts in hot weather. Be sure to work out early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid heat stress.

For more information on heart healthy exercises, or to determine if your heart is healthy enough for aerobic exercise, consult with your doctor. Make an appointment with Virtual Imaging, inc. Imaging Center today at 770-730-0119.