Any kind of physical movement contributes to good heart health, but if you really want to look after your ticker these should be your go-to workouts.
Unrivalled for preventing heart disease and diabetes, losing weight and efficiently improving fitness, interval training doesn't have to always be high-intensity. If you're a walker, for example, you might alternate 3 minutes at normal speed with 1 minute at a brisk pace. Continuously raising and lowering your heart rate improves vascular function, burns calories, and makes the body more efficient at clearing fat and sugar from the blood.
Full-body, low-impact sports
The more muscles involved in an activity, the harder your heart must work to fuel them all. Therefore, full-body movements such as those utilised in rowing, swimming and cross-country skiing all use muscles throughout the body, with very low risk of injury.
You increase your heart rate during reps and recover between sets. By efficiently handling the demands placed upon them, strong muscles ease the overall burden on the heart. Use free weights, which engage more muscles, strengthen your core, and build balance.
Pilates and yoga
Both of these strengthen your core muscles and improve flexibility and balance. The calm they provide lowers blood pressure, making blood vessels more elastic and promoting heart health.
If you're active in little ways the entire day (cleaning, gardening, running errands) you'll burn more calories and generally be healthier than those who exercise for 30 to 60 minutes and then sit at a computer the rest of the time. Wear a pedometer or smart watch and measure how active you are outside of your exercise time. When it comes to heart health, every step counts!
Holly Geraghty is a fully qualified PT, small business owner and mother of two. She specialises in helping women get back to their best of health with a supportive and 'tailored to each' approach. Follow Holly on Instagram and drop her a DM to see how she could help you!