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6 Exercises For A Strong Heart

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6 Exercises For A Strong Heart

February is National Heart Health Month, tying into Valentine's Day. Heart disease kills about 1 in 4 Americans every year, which averages out to about 610,000. That's too many for a disease we can help battle with simple exercise. Here are 6 ways to keep up the fight for a strong and healthy heart. 

1) The first and foremost exercise you can do anywhere is simply walk. Walking can be done anywhere, at almost anytime (unless it's icy like it is here right now), and is one of the safest aerobic exercises you can do. 
2) Climb your stairs. Climbing stairs is the easiest way for you to get into your heart healthy target heart rate of 50 to 80 percent of your max heart rate. If you can't get to the gym to use the stair master, take some laps on your home steps.
3) Ride your bicycle. Using your largest muscles in your body to pump those pedals really raises your heart rate. If the weather isn't permitting, jump on a stationary bike for the same benefits. 
4) Take up swimming. The resistance of the water easily makes this one of the top aerobic exercises you can take part in. Another great advantage is that you don't have the stress on your bones and joints that you may have with other forms of aerobic exercise, making this a great starter if you are overweight or have arthritis. 
5) Try out an elliptical machine. The advantage of an elliptical machine for heart health is that it gives you both an upper- and lower-body workout at once. The elliptical leg motion mimics running with the lower impact of cycling. At the same time, the rhythmic arm movements get blood flowing to your back and shoulder muscles.
6) Dance like no one is watching! A good aerobic beat is about 120 to 135 beats per minute. Dancing can range from high impact to low impact depending on your ability and preference, and you can dance with others in a class such as Zumba or exercise at home by yourself.

Keeping yourself heart healthy and strong will let you live a longer and happier life. Keep moving to stay strong! 

 Heart Facts

  • The more education you have, the lower your risk for heart disease.
  • A normal heart valve is about the size of a half dollar.
  • The first pacemakers actually plugged into a wall socket.
  • Being happy helps lower your heart disease risk.
  • The first heart cells start to beat as early as 4 weeks into pregnancy.
  • The blue whale has the largest heart at over 1,500 pounds. 
  • Heart disease has been found in 3,000 year-old mummies.
  • Your heart is about the size of two hands clasped together.
  • The human heart beats an average of 100,000 times a day.
  • The beating sound is the clap of valves opening and closing.
  • Each minute 1.5 gallons of blood is pumped through your heart.
  • You control your heart health through diet, exercise, and stress management.
  • A woman's heart beats faster than a man's by almost 8 beats per minute.
  • The heart has it's own electrical supply and will continue to beat outside of the body. 

By Matt Griffith, CSCS

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