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5 exercises that are good for your heart

Last updated on: October 01, 2018 08:40 IST

Ditch that chair. Add some physical activity to your day.

Work for your heart

Photograph: Kind courtesy Esha Gupta/Instagram

Our heart plays the most important role in keeping us healthy.

The heart is the pump at the centre of the body's circulation system.

This system ensures that fresh blood, containing oxygen and nutrients, is delivered throughout the whole body, and carbon dioxide and waste products are taken away. 

That also explains why it needs attention from us too.

India leads the world in rates of cardiovascular diseases.

Young people in their early 30s are facing heart problems. From eating unhealthy food to following a sedentary lifestyle, there are several reasons why we lead the world's list of unhealthy countries.

It's time we all take out some time from our busy and monotonous lifestyles and do some exercise to live a heart-healthy life.

You may try these:

1. Burpees

Burpees are an awesome, calorie-torching, strength-building, full body exercise.

Burpee helps a person to burn extra fat and conditions the body helping it increase metabolism thus minimise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The classic burpee is a four-point move. From a standing position, drop into a squat with your hands on the ground just in front of your feet.

Kick your feet back behind you, keeping your arms extended so you are in a raised plank position.

Precaution:

Anyone can do this exercise. But, you need to be physically fit. 

Though no workout equipment is required to practice this exercise, it is recommended to get a medical consultation from your physician with appropriate supervision to avoid any injury.

2. Jumping Jacks

This aerobic cardio exercise requires you to use oxygen to meet the energy demands and stimulate the heart muscles.

The heart has to work extra hard to pump enough oxygenated blood and also bring back the carbon dioxide loaded blood from the cells.

This, in turn, helps exercise the heart muscles and other organs like the lungs. Hence, this steady and slow exercise keeps your heart healthy by providing a good workout to it.

Precaution:

Warm up and cool down. A brisk walk around the block may be a good start.

Do your jumping jacks on a flat, even surface. Grass, rubber, and other surfaces that absorb shock are preferred over cement or asphalt.

Wear supportive shoes. Choose athletic sneakers instead of sandals, heeled shoes, or boots.

Learn proper form. Consider having a trainer show you proper form to ensure you’re doing the moves correctly.

The faster, the better. Consider favoring speed of repetitions over the total length of the workout (endurance) to avoid overuse injuries.

Pay attention to your body. If you feel pain, take a break or stop your session completely.

3. Jump Squats

Squat jumps are an example of a plyometric exercise, movements that build power.

Jump squats develop explosive power.

Explosive power is the ability to generate force quickly.

If you play almost any sport you need explosive power --  but that's not the only reason to them.

They help build and tone the calves, glutes, hamstrings, core, and quadriceps.

It helps build muscles that are crucial to glucose regulation, insulin sensitivity, and lipid metabolism; help prevent heart diseases, hypertension, obesity and diabetes.

Precaution

Warm up! The squats engage big muscles and large joints that should be ready for the load.

Do not land with feet straight but bend your knees.

While jumping, you should keep your back and body straight.

4. Aerobics

Any activity that gets your blood pumping and large muscle groups working qualifies here.

It's also known as cardiovascular activity.

It is recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.

Brisk walking or swimming are examples of moderate activity. Running or cycling are examples of vigorous activity.

Aerobic exercise is recommended by the American Heart Association and by most doctors to people with, or at risk for heart disease. That’s because exercise strengthens your heart and helps it more efficiently pump blood throughout the body.

Cardiovascular exercise can also help lower blood pressure, and keep your arteries clear by raising 'good' high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lowering 'bad' low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood.

Precaution

Exercise lowers blood sugar.

If you have diabetes, check your blood sugar levels before and after exercise.

Eating a healthy snack before you start sweating will also help prevent your levels from dipping too low.

Spend extra time warming up before beginning your activity if you have muscle and joint pain, such as with arthritis.

Consider taking a warm shower before lacing up or heading to the gym.

Shoes with good cushioning and motion control can also help.

If you have asthma, look for exercises with shorter bursts of activity, like tennis or baseball. That way you can take breaks to rest your lungs. Don’t forget to use an inhaler when necessary.

If you’re new to exercise, ease in to activity. Start over several weeks by doing 10 to 20minutes every other day. This will help with fatigue and muscle soreness.

5. Walking

Number one on the top 10 for aerobic exercise is walking.

It is enjoyable, safe, inexpensive, and easy to fit into almost anyone's busy day.

You can walk to work, visit the grocery store or simply stroll in your neighborhood. Aerobic exercises use large muscles in a continuous, rhythmical manner over time.

This World Heart Day pledge to live a healthy life with a healthy heart.

 The author Vikas Jain is managing director, Anytime Fitness, Mumbai.

Vikas Jain