Being physically inactive places everyone at a higher risk for developing heart disease. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends engaging in physical activity to help decrease your risk. Different types of exercise can be done to improve heart health, but the best form is cardiovascular exercise.
Cardiovascular exercise or "cardio" is the most important physical activity you can do to keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy while also improving your overall fitness. Individuals should aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise per week. This means that your workouts should range between fairly light to somewhat hard to very hard, keeping in mind that you should start slow when beginning a new exercise regime. Consider trying a fitness monitor which may motivate you to work smarter and will keep track of the time spent and effort put into your workout. Those looking to further improve their fitness, reduce their risk for chronic disease, and/or prevent unhealthy weight gain may benefit by exceeding the minimum recommended amount of physical activity by putting in a little extra time at the gym!
Below are a few examples of cardiovascular exercises that would be great for improving your heart health:
Please know that no one exercise is better than another. Getting up and moving is most important.
If you or someone you know are unsure of your risk for heart disease, please take a moment to complete our HeartAware Risk Assessment. This HRA will give you a better idea of your heart health and a reference point to discuss with your doctor at your next appointment.
Source: ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription