Want to strengthen your heart health? One of the best things you can do is to be physically active. These three exercises will help you get where you need to be.

Why exercise matters

Being physically active is very important when it comes to having good heart health. It’s very effective when it comes to:

  • Strengthening the heart muscle
  • Keeping weight under control
  • Warding off artery damage from high cholesterol
  • Protecting against damage from high blood sugar
  • Warding off damage from high blood pressure
  • Protection from heart attacks and strokes

For a complete fitness plan, you need to try different types of exercises such as:

  • Aerobic exercises
  • Strength training
  • Flexibility exercises

Here’s how these 3 types of exercise can benefit your heart health:

Aerobic Exercise

76 year old swimmer, underwater view

  • Improves circulation
  • Results in lowered blood pressure and heart rate
  • Increases overall aerobic fitness
  • Helps cardiac output (how well the heart pumps)
  • Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Helps control blood glucose

Effective aerobic exercises:

  • At least 30 minutes daily, five days a week
  • Brisk walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Playing tennis
  • Jumping rope
  • Whatever type of exercise/activity that gets your heart pumping

Strength Training

  • A big belly and carrying a lot of body fat  is a risk factor for heart disease
  • Strength (or resistance) training can help reduce fat and create leaner muscle mass
  • A combination of aerobic and resistance exercise may help raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol

Effective strength training:

  • At least 2 non-consecutive days a week
  • Use free weights (hand weights, dumbbells, barbells, etc.)
  • Weight machines
  • Workout with resistance bands
  • Do body-resistance exercises (push-ups, squats, and/or chin-ups)

Mature woman in yoga pose

Flexibility Exercise

  • Flexibility workouts like stretching don’t directly affect heart health
  • They benefit musculoskeletal health
  • They enable people to stay flexible and free from joint pain, cramping, and similar issues
  • Flexibility is critical in maintaining aerobic exercise and resistance training
  • A good musculoskeletal foundation enables people to do the exercises that help the heart
  • Flexibility and balance exercises help maintain stability and prevent falls

Effective flexibility exercises:

  • Daily, before and after exercise
  • Basic stretches
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga