Before starting any new exercise regime make sure to check with you doctor.
Exercise helps prevent or control cardiovascular disease in many ways. It helps to control the impact of many of the risk factors of heart disease, such as: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, stress and diabetes. There is also strong evidence that frequent exercise strengthens the heart and prevents heart attacks.
How do you exercise the heart effectively? You must engage in sports with a lot of physical activity. This will significantly accelerate your heartbeat and strengthen the heart. Such activities are called “aerobics activities” . Examples include: cycling, swimming, brisk walking, stair climbing, running and jogging. Some activities that also have a lot of benefits but are not aerobic activities are working in the garden, walking leisurely, bowling and weightlifting. . Ideally, in order to stay healthy a person should exercise 5-7 times a week, with each time lasting 30–60 minutes.
Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats each minute. The goal of aerobic exercising is to reach 50–75% of your “maximum heart rate” while you exercise. This is your target heartbeat range. To calculate your target range, first calculate your maximum heart rate. One quick way of calculating this is to subtract your age from 220. For example, a forty year old person calculates their maximum heart rate as: 220 – 40 = 180. Then to get your target heartbeat range divide the result by 2 to get the lower number and divide your maximum by 4 and multiply that by 3 to get the higher number. For example, a 40 year old doing aerobic exercise would aim for between 90 -135 heartbeats per minute (180/2 = 90 and 180/4=45*3=135). When you initially start exercising, set you target at the lower end of the range, for example 60%. As you increase your fitness, you can set your target higher, for example 85%.
The best exercise is something you like and can stick with. Walking is one of the best exercises because it is simple, easy, safe and inexpensive. The amount of calories burned with brisk walking is similar to running, but the risk of injury is much less. Walking does not require special training or equipment. You just need a pair of good shoes. It is also an aerobic and weight-bearing exercise and so is beneficial for your heart while at the same time it helps prevents osteoporosis.
- Choose a sport that you enjoy.
- Exercise 30 minutes daily. If necessary split your exercise into 3 sessions of 10 minutes each.
- Gradually build up your routine to allow your body to adapt to the exercise.
- Before starting actual exercise do preparation exercise and stretch your limbs.
- Choose an exercise with an appropriate pace
- Gradually slow down towards the end of your exercise.
- After the exercise routine loosen up and stretch your limbs.
- If you do not exercise for a few days, don’t jump right into intense activity.
- If you find yourself bored, switch to another form of exercise.
- If you want to lose weight, it is important to have a balanced diet as well as regular exercise
Content by Dr. Anthony Fung, Cardiologist
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