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Take Your heart to the Gym: Exercising for Heart Health!

The heart is one organ that is not too hard to please. Some of the most important things you need for a good heart rate is good food and regular exercise. Having frequent workouts keep your heart strong and healthy. It makes you less susceptible to cardiovascular diseases. The good thing is that a workout session doesn’t need to last for several hours, just 30 to 55 minutes of workout a day will keep your heart in good condition. Inform your doctor about your intention to start exercising if you suffer from conditions such as heart diseases or diabetes.

The benefits of exercise to your heart and health

The benefits of exercising are invaluable and they stay with you for years to come. Here are four major ways your body benefits from exercise:

  • Stress reduction: No, you do not need a vacation in Paris to reduce stress, at least not all the time. An exercise is an inexpensive option that you could even do in your home.
  • Lowers blood pressure: High blood pressure is a very serious condition that can affect your heart adversely. But exercise can help you significantly lower your blood pressure, even without the use of drugs.
  • Burns calories: Want to lose weight? Then a little exercise for a few minutes a day, five days a week, can get you in shape. Obesity predisposes people to serious heart diseases.
  • Reduces cholesterol: Cholesterol, especially LDL, is a major contributor to heart diseases such as angina. Exercising daily can help you get rid of those “bad cholesterol”.

The best form of exercise for your heart rate

Generally, no form of exercise is better than the other. As long as you can get your heart pumping faster, you are good to go. However, some forms of exercise do this better than others. Exercises that require you to use large muscles, such as those of your arms and thighs, get your heart rate up better than others. These forms of exercises are called aerobics, here some good examples of aerobics:

  • Swimming
  • Biking (Under 10mph)
  • Golf
  • Skiing downhill
  • Gardening
  • Softball
  • Dancing
  • Yard work

The aerobics in the list above are light to moderate level exercises. For rigorous aerobics, try these:

  • Soccer
  • Stair running/climbing
  • Tennis
  • Basketball
  • Jogging
  • Jumping rope/skipping
  • Skating
  • Uphill hiking
  • Biking (Over 10mph)

The way your body feels while you are exercising is a good indication of how light, moderate or rigorous your workout is. Your heart rate and breathing rate are the two major indicators of the level of intensity of your exercise. A heart rate monitor watch can be a good tool to monitor your heart rate during exercise.

 How to monitor your heart rate during exercise

So if you're serious about your workout, you should try to monitor your heart rate while you are actually working out. This way you'll be sure you are within the recommended heart rate for your age. If you don't have a heart rate monitor, then here's another way to check your heart rate:

  • Place your hand against your chest or two fingers on your wrist, side of your throat, or top of your feet. Then count the pulses for 60 seconds and record your finding.

Ensure that your heart rate is 50% to 85% of your maximum heart rate based on how old you are. Just in case you are unsure, use this list to find the recommended heart rate for your age:

  • 20 years old -- 100 to 170 beats per minute
  • 30 years old -- 95 to 162 beats per minute
  • 35 years old -- 93 to 157 beats per minute
  • 40 years old -- 90 to 153 beats per minute
  • 45 years old -- 88 to 149 beats per minute
  • 50 years old -- 85 to 145 beats per minute
  • 55 years old -- 83 to 140 beats per minute
  • 60 years old -- 80 to 136 beats per minute
  • 65 years old -- 78 to 132 beats per minute
  • 70 years old -- 75 to 128 beats per minute

Moderate workouts fall within 50% to 75% of your maximum heart rate while intense workouts fall within 70% to 85% of the same. To be safe, start off with a mild or light exercise that gets your heart beating at the lowest rate recommended for your age. Then increase the intensity as you get fitter. This is important if you have not exercised for a very long time. And those who suffer conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and other heart-related diseases should get advice from their doctors before commencing any strenuous physical activity.