Really simple ways to make your heart strong!
The weekend is here and it is as good a time as any other to start your favourite workout right away, says Brinda Sapat.
It's time to give your heart some wonderful treats and celebrate it. If you aren't exercising it, today is as good a day to start as any other!
Your heart is the center of you and keeping it strong and healthy adds years to your life.
The great news is that you don't have to wear yourself out in the process.
The heart is a muscle and like any other muscle in the body, it needs to be strengthened so it can pump blood better for years to come. And as the body stores fat in more noticeable places that we hate, it unfortunately also gets stored in the arteries which cause blockages. When you exercise, the fat gets burnt off and your arteries clear up!
All this is possible with cardiovascular exercises that get your heart rate up. It makes the heart exercise and pump blood faster. As the blood flows fast through your body, the oxygen in the blood busts the fat cells all over! So it has the wonderful side effect of fat burn!
Fun ways to condition your heart:
Everyone enjoys different ways of working out and picking one that you really like makes it more probable to stick to it long term.
Let's start with the most basic one:
Walk fast enough to get your heart rate up, but you should not get out of breath. Walking 5-6 days a week for 30 minutes is ideal.
If you'd like to push yourself further, change it to a jog or run. Doing intervals of walking and running exercises the heart and trains it to go from slow to fast and vice versa!
Cycle on flat land, uphill, downhill. Enjoy the ride and get an additional leg workout too!
Join a spinning class if you prefer. 5-6 days a week for 30 minutes.
For all the water babies! Swimming for 30 minutes nonstop will keep the heart in healthy mode. 5-6 days a week.
Aerobics and other cardio group classes
This is for fun lovers! The thumping music, motivating instructors and social atmosphere not only rev up the heart physically but is an emotionally feel good factor too, which is good for your heart. An hour long class, 4 days a week.
Football, tennis, badminton or other run-around sports give your heart a good interval cardio workout (ie varies heart rate). If you are the sporty kind, stick to sport for your cardio dose 4-5 days a week.
Now that you've got moving, it is also important to keep in check what you are putting into your stomach. High fat foods are bad for the heart. Do away with butter, ghee, high fat snacks, high fat anything!
But your body does want to have 'good' cholesterol so swap the bad fats for good ones like olive oil, nuts, avocado and fish.
Clear out your arteries with high fiber foods like cereals and veggies.
Stay away from artificial sugars and get your share from fruits.
Start today and have a Happy Heart!
Image: Fabulously fit, Irina Shayk takes a jog along the sands in a crop top and camouflage bikini bottoms.
Photographs: Agua Bendita 2013 swimwear ad campaign