Becca Ballantyne, and Viet Le, Pa-C from Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute shared ways to keep your heart healthy in honor of National Heart Month.
Ballantyne and Le explaiuned that the heart is a muscle and it gets stronger and healthier if you lead an active life. It is never too late to start exercising, and you don’t have to be an athlete. Even taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can make a big difference.
- Aerobic exercise (“cardio”): Running, jogging, and biking are some examples. You’re moving fast enough to raise your heart rate and breathe harder, but you should still be able to talk to someone while you’re doing it. Otherwise, you are pushing too hard. If you have joint problems, choose a low-impact activity, like swimming or walking.
- Stretching: You’ll become more flexible if you do this a couple of times a week. Stretch after you’ve warmed up or finished exercising. Stretch gently, it shouldn’t hurt.
- Strength training: You can use weights, resistance bands, or your body weight (yoga, for instance) for this. Do it 2-3 times a week. Let your muscles recover for a day between sessions.
Viet Le and Becca Ballantyne from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray showed four good heart-healthy exercises (see video for demonstration).
- Lunges: This helps strengthen leg muscles and works large muscle groups which also increases calorie expenditure.
- Wall Sits: same as above but is a static exercise, allowing the muscle to work continuously and build endurance.
- Planks: This exercise provides static exercise for the upper body working for those large muscle groups (shoulder/arms) and the abdominal/back muscle also known core muscles). This exercise improves postural muscles and general upper body strength.
- Pushups: This exercise is a dynamic motion of the upper body that also provides strengthening through a range of motion in the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints while also providing conditioning for the core muscle groups of the abdomen and back.
Regular exercise can help you:
- Burn calories
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce LDS”bad” cholesterol
- Boost your HDL “good” cholesterol
Free heart healthy classes at Intermountain Hospitals.
- Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Sadly, most people aren’t aware they have a problem until they experience a heart attack. At Intermountain Healthcare, they want to help everyone live the heart-healthiest lives possible so they can spend more time doing the things they enjoy.
- During February, Intermountain hospitals have organized free classes throughout Utah to help people learn ways they can be more heart healthy. From learning how to cook heart-healthy meals, to understanding the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
Go to IntermountainHealthcare.org to find a class near you.
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