Live Total Wellness

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Exercise and Your Heart


Part Five in the continuing series on Heart Health

Exercise and Your Heart

Whether you are younger or older, exercise will effect our bodies, including our heart. Regular exercise can keep your heart strong and pumping. Exercise of all types and intensities are beneficial to your heart.

Why is everyone so afraid of exercise? Just the mention makes people tense up as if they are accepting a mission to run a 5K race the very next day. Exercise can be your best friend and your heart’s friend if you let it and it does not have to be painful and cause you to sweat excessively to be effective.

Calm Down to Gear Up

Let’s set the record straight once and for all. Exercise is another word for physical activity. Physical activity can be any activity that gets your heart pumping on a regular basis.

Whether you are young and trying to be proactive or your doctor has recommended exercise in your life, start off slow. This point can’t be stressed enough. Jumping in, both feet first, may have you nursing stress fractures and sore muscles a week later. That is the quickest way to get discouraged and quit altogether.

Instead, pick an activity that you like. Let’s say that it’s gardening. Gardening looks tame but it is a very good physical activity. Digging holes, pulling weeds, hoeing, raking and planting take good upper and lower body strength. You will feel it right away after a full day of doing these activities!

To help your muscles grow strong, concentrate on the muscle group being worked at the time. For example, if you are digging holes to plant trees, squeeze your abdominal muscles as well as your shoulder and bicep muscles as you plunge the shovel into the ground. Bend your legs to a squat position as you lift the dirt out so that they do all the work.

The point is that everyday activities can be turned into exercise.  Think about how often you walk up and down the stairs.  Use that time to work your glutes (bum muscles).  You've heard it said many times, park farther away from your destination to walk further. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Walk instead of driving when possible.

What about walking? It is the best overall exercise. You can start off slowly, walking alone or with a friend. As you get comfortable with walking a mile or so around your neighborhood, begin to mix it up. Walk farther or farther and faster. As you get used to the new routine, change it again. Walk backwards uphill. This will work muscles such as your upper and lower leg muscles as well as your glutes. Changing your direction can give you a different view on more than just your body!

So, you see, exercising doesn’t necessarily mean joining a gym or the local running club (unless you want to). Those who start slow and build to more rigorous exercise are more likely to stick to it because they are conditioning their bodies in the process.

Exercise does wonders for your heart:

• Increases lung capacity
• Lowers blood pressure
• Causes your heart to beat more efficiently in response to increased endurance
• Increases metabolism
• Reduces stress

With all of these pluses, why aren’t you moving yet? Find what you like to do and do it. Continually challenge yourself as your body responds to increase heart health and overall health in general.

What are you going to do to get moving?  What will you do for your heart?  What can you suggest for others?

13 comments:

jenblizzard said...

Enjoyed the article, I try and get my family to walk with me daily (weather permitting ofcourse). That is usually when we do our talking and just enjoying each others company.
Stop by my blog and check it out!
www.jenblizzard.blogspot.com

Theresa said...

Great article on the link between health and fitness. We try to do something energetic everyday, play outside, marching band, tag you're it, dancing. Makes the day so much fun.

Following from MBC. Please stop by and say Hi!

http://www.theresagrisanti.com

hann said...

As you work out on the ball, you use more muscles than you would while doing the same exercises without the use of the ball. This helps you to practice various abdominal exercise and thus will keep you interested in the workout regime.

Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs said...

Great info! I walk my dogs daily, about a 1.5 mile walk. I just started back after having been pulled down when my pit/pointer saw a deer and took off, dragging me along. A few months of physical therapy later, I'm trying it again -- this time with the "gentle leader" leashes on the dogs. They seem to be working.

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Jack and Alex Manning said...

I used to stress about the days that I didn't get to the gym, until I realised that since I had my kids, I rarely sit down! I clean, do laundry, run around after them...all much better for me than sitting! Thanks for the health tips, I'll be back to check out more!!

(from MBC: http://blog.seattlepi.com/parentingadabsurdum/)

Chana@ Mamma Town said...

So much great information! Thanks for following my blog, happy to return the favor! Looking forward to more posts! http://www.mammatown.blogspot.com

Nikki said...

Once it gets nice out, I'm going to start walking my dog to the bus stop to pick up my son. Both of us need more exercise!

Thank you for stopping by and following me! I'm following you back.
-Nikki, Pretty Opinionated

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Shelly said...

Thank you for sharing this! I am learning how to become more healthy! I can use all the help I can get! LOL I am your newest follower from the finding new friends blog hop. I am one of the hosts! Stopping by to say hi and playing catch up LOL! Hope to see ya on all my blogs :)

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Cindi @ Moomette's Magnificents said...

Thanks for the reminder! About 5 years ago I was walking at least 2 miles per day, but have gotten away from it. This is inspiration for me to start up again now that the weather has warmed up! Thanks for stopping by too!

Cindi @ Moomette's Magnificents said...

Thanks for the inspiration to start walking again! About 5 years ago I was walking at least 2 miles per day. Now that the weather has warmed up I hope to start walking again!

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