It’s common to have a narrow view when it comes to health and fitness. For many people, that means obsessing over the numbers on a scale or rigorously counting calories at mealtimes. But when it comes to heart health, there’s more to it, says Tara Narula, M.D., a board-certified cardiologist and a volunteer spokesperson for the American Heart Association. Here, she shares her top recommendations for heart-healthy activities:
1. Heart-Thumping Sweat Sessions
Your main focus for keeping your heart healthy should be on aerobic activity, says Narula. “Hitting the 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity are optimal goals,” she says. Any activity that gets your heart rate up will work, such as brisk walking and running.”Walking is always a good option, because you don’t have to go to gym—you can do it outside,” says Narula. “And for people with joint limitations, swimming, the elliptical machine, and rowing are all good.”
2. Muscle-Building Workouts
“Resistance and strength training can also be built in two times week,” says Narula. Weight bearing activities can help to reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health.
3. Daily Activity
Slipping more steps into your day can also have a positive impact on the health of your heart. “Try to build exercise into your daily routine by parking further away, walking to work, taking a break at lunch to take a quick walk, and using the stairs instead of the elevator,” says Narula. “Anything that gets you moving and out of a sitting or sedentary position is good.”
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Board-certified cardiologist Tara Narula, M.D., is a volunteer spokesperson for the American Heart Association, Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Hofstra University NSLIJ School of Medicine and Associate Director of the Cardiac Care Unit at Lenox Hill Hospital/NSLIJ in Manhattan. She also serves as a medical contributor for “CBS This Morning.”
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.