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We know that eating a heart-healthy diet is key to obtaining and maintaining good cardiac health. However, exercise also plays a pivotal role in preventing, controlling, and eliminating the symptoms of heart disease. The most effective exercises to combat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and the risk of prediabetes are aerobic, resistance, and flexibility.
1. Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise can help lower your heart rate and improve your cholesterol levels. In addition, it can help you maintain a healthy weight which lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Health professionals like Ian Weisberg will tell you that most experts recommend engaging in aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes each week.
Don’t stress if your budget doesn’t allow for an expensive gym membership. Consider simply taking a brisk, 30-minute walk around your neighborhood or the local shopping mall. Other examples of simple but effective aerobic exercises include jumping rope, gardening, and cycling. Exert yourself enough that you become warm and breathless, and consult your medical provider to ensure that your aerobic fitness plan is safe, practical, and effective.
2. Resistance Exercise
Resistance training focuses on building strength in your muscles. The more strength you have in your arms, legs, and core, the less your heart has to work to power you through the day. You won’t engage in strength training as often as aerobic exercise; most experts recommend just a few days a week with rest days in between.
Again, you don’t need a gym membership to accomplish your weekly resistance training goals. Use simple hand weights or practice bodyweight exercises such as push-ups or squats. To avoid injury, start with very little weight and just a few repetitions until you build up strength.
3. Flexibility Exercise
Flexibility exercises help your musculoskeletal system to remain agile so that you can continue to engage in aerobic and resistance training as you age. By maintaining good flexibility and balance throughout your life, you’re ensuring that your body can move well into the future with a lower risk of falls.
Work with your provider to develop a safe stretching routine that you’ll complete several days per week. Most importantly, don’t ever stretch cold muscles. Engage in flexibility maneuvers only after your body is warm from other activities.
Aerobic, resistance, and flexibility training can pave the way to better cardiovascular health. Think of these three elements as essential weapons to fight off risk factors and combat the symptoms of heart disease, heart failure, and stroke.