What is the Best Type of Aerobic Exercise for Preventing Heart Disease?
Aerobic exercise is great for keeping your heart healthy. Heart attacks, stroke and heart disease can all be prevented with a smart diet and consistent exercise plan. Basically, any physical activity that gets your heart beating quicker than normal is great for heart health. This moves oxygen throughout your body, which keeps your internal and external processes and body parts healthy and happy.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is through aerobic exercise.
Think of aerobic physical activity as medium to above average in intensity, and continuing for an extended period of time.
In other words, heart-pumping activities like running, swimming and cycling are aerobic in nature. They elevate your heart rate and keep that accelerated level sustained with a moderate to above average level of intensity.
So, what is the single best type of aerobic activity for preventing heart disease? As we just mentioned, enjoying a few laps in the pool, jogging around your block or bicycling on your favorite nature trail are all great ways to promote heart health.
However, for multiple reasons, the best heart healthy aerobic exercise is …
Walking at a brisk pace.
Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, simply walking at an above average rate of speed can impact your heart in a positive manner. Running and cycling, body weight training and hitting the treadmill are all excellent aerobic exercises.
However, they cause a greater impact on your joints.
This can lead to physical problems in both the short and long-term. Additionally, in the early part of the 21st century, health professionals, doctors, and physical trainers have discovered that lengthy periods of running and biking can actually take years off of your life!
To effectively benefit from the aerobic benefits of brisk walking, remember this.
You only need 2.5 to 3.5 hours of moderately intense physical activity each week to boost your heart health. Some studies have shown that 5 or more hours of aerobic activity weekly does more physical damage than good, even shortening your life span.
So get walking. Walk around your office building at lunchtime. Walk to and from work if you can. Walk instead of driving whenever possible. Schedule 3 to 5 brisk walking sessions of 30 to 45 minutes each week.
Your heart and body will benefit from this extremely efficient, low-impact aerobic exercise, and you won’t experience the pounding, high-impact dangers that some aerobic exercises deliver.
What to Do If You Get Chest Pain While Exercising
When you experience chest pains several thought processes might begin to take place. You may wonder if you are having a heart attack. It’s important to educate yourself with what affects the heart. You might also be doing something physically strenuous, and think your pain is associated with that physical activity and not a sign of a possibly dangerous heart problem. The health of your heart is much too important to ignore, so knowing exactly what to do when you experience chest pain while exercising could prove to be a bit of life-saving knowledge.
The First Step – Stop What You Are Doing
Let’s say you are jogging, and you begin to feel a tightening or constriction in your chest. Even though you may not be experiencing a symptom of a dangerous heart condition, you should stop jogging immediately. The same applies to lifting weights, cycling or performing body weight exercises. Your specific activity does not matter, only that you stop exerting yourself physically if you experience chest pains of any kind.
If possible, find somewhere calm and comfortable to relax. Let your breathing return to normal. If your chest pain goes away, that could or could not be a good sign. Whatever physical activity you were performing may have caused some pain in your chest muscles. On the other hand, you could have been overstressing your heart, and when you stop working out or exercising your heart rate returned to normal and the pain disappeared.
Diagnosing Your Chest Pains
So, how do you tell if the pain you are feeling in your chest is a sign of heart problems or just muscle soreness? The truth is, it can be very difficult to differentiate those 2 issues. You should remember that almost all heart attacks start slowly. You will first feel a very low level of discomfort. You may feel a little pressure or squeezing, or of feeling that you are “full” right in the middle of your chest. It is not uncommon for this pain to come and go, but you should definitely seek medical attention if this experience continues for more than a few minutes after you stop exercising.
Chest Pains with Breathing Problems
If an unnatural lack of breath accompanies your chest pains while you are physically active, this is a classic sign that a heart attack may be on the way. The key here is understanding the natural breathing patterns you display during physical activity. If your breathing is more difficult than usual while you are exercising or working out, and chest pains are present, you should consult a doctor immediately.
Chest Pains and Dizziness
Sometimes merely bending over and rising too quickly can cause you to feel lightheaded. However, if you experience dizziness and chest pains at the same time, especially when you are exerting yourself physically, you should stop exercising immediately. Dizziness can lead to a physical injury when you are working out because it throws your balance off. This is also a sign that you may be experiencing a serious heart problem.
Chest Pains Plus Discomfort in Other Parts of Your Body
Physical discomfort while exercising is common. You probably know how different parts of your body feel when you are working out. One thing to look out for when you are physically active is if chest pains are accompanied by discomfort or pressure in your arms, jaw, back, neck or stomach. This combination can predict the onset of a heart attack or cardiovascular condition.
In all cases, 100% of the time, if you feel pain in your chest while exercising or working out, stop what you are doing immediately. Listen to your body. It will send you signals that something is wrong. This may be in the form of mild discomfort from muscle pain, or it could be delivering a red alert message that you need immediate medical attention. If you are uncertain whether your chest pain while exercising is a sign of physical or cardiac stress, don’t take the risk of ignoring the pain. Seek medical attention immediately if you have the slightest idea that your chest pain may be the sign of something other than physical stress.
1 Crucial Tip for Maintaining a Healthy Heart as You Age
According to a recent study over half of the cases of heart disease could be prevented. Even small lifestyle changes have a big effect on your overall heart health, however it all starts with knowing the results of four critical tests.
Know Your Numbers
Certain lab test results show the condition of your heart health and your risk of having a “heart-related event”– not something you want to experience. In particular you should know your numbers from these tests:
• Cholesterol (HDL, LDL and Total)
• Blood pressure
• Body Mass Index (BMI)
Once you have the baseline numbers, you and your doctor can create a plan to get the ones out of whack back in line.
The body makes and needs cholesterol in order to survive, but when the good HDL gets too low or the bad LDL too high, it increases your risk for a heart attack. As far as the numbers, your LDL should be less than 130mg/dL, HDL less than 40mg/dL and your total less than 200mg/dL.
Staying at a healthy weight, not smoking, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet of lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grain, will help bring your numbers back in line. If it doesn’t, your doctor may put you on a statin-based medication.
This measurement shows the fats in your blood. A good number is around 150mg/dL. Just by lowering the amount of saturated fat you eat and losing weight, you can lower your number by 30% to 50%.
Blood pressure is the force exerted on the blood vessels by your heart pumping blood throughout your body. Blood pressure is expressed as a maximum pressure (systolic) over a minimum pressure (diastolic) and displayed in millimeters of mercury. Ideally, it should be 120/80mm Hg.
If your blood pressure is too high, try lowering it by losing weight if you are overweight, and by exercising and eating a healthy diet low in sodium. If it is still not within tolerance, your doctor may have to put you on a blood pressure medication to get it down.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
If your BMI is over 24.9, you are overweight for your height and have an increased risk of getting heart disease or diabetes. You can lower your number by eating a healthy diet, losing weight and exercising.
Did you notice that most of the measurements are affected by eating a healthy diet, exercising and losing weight? Doing those three things, along with stopping smoking and limiting your intake of alcohol to one drink a day, will go a long way to getting your numbers back in check without having to go on any type of medication.