Being physically active is one of the best things you can do to improve and maintain your heart's health. Exercising helps to strengthen the heart muscle, keeps your weight under control, reduces artery damage from high cholesterol, and reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
However, it is important to understand how different types of exercises affect heart health.
Healthy Heart Movement
Examples: power walking, biking, jump rope, running, swimming
Aerobic exercise improves circulation, which lowers blood pressure and heart rate. If possible, it's recommended to engage in this type of exercise for 30 minutes a day, or 5 days or a week.
Example: using free weights, resistance bands, and body-weight exercise (i.e. push-ups, squats, etc.)
Resistance training helps reduce fat and creates leaner muscle mass. Specifically, resistance training can reduce the risk for heart disease. It is recommended to engage in this type of exercise at least two days per week.
Stretching and Balance
Example: static stretches, yoga, or tai chi.
Stretching and balance training improve musculoskeletal health. So although this does not affect heart health directly, it indirectly allows you to have the ability to perform exercises that do improve heart health. It's recommended that stretching and balancing training be done every day or before/after exercising.