We all know it’s important to keep moving but if you are looking at targeting a healthier heart, these Cardiologist approved exercise routines should help you in a huge way. We spoke to Senior Cardiologist, Dr Ramasami Nandakumar on the top exercises for your heart and here’s what he told us.
Yes, walking does help but it needs to be brisk and fast. Not only does walking briskly keep your heart rate going, it is also better than running and reduces the chance of injury to your knees, ankles and hips. And before you over exert your heart aiming for a high heart rate, find out what your maximum heart rate is and then calculate your desired rate zone. Always remember to slowly build that target number - start small and then build up from there.
2. Pilates and Yoga
Pilates and Yoga are great at engaging your core essential to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility and balance. They also help you do everything else better! Whether it’s playing your favourite game of tennis better, or helping with carrying grocery bags - core strengthening exercises like Pilates are great for your heart and overall way of living.
M. Mala Cunningham, Ph.D., counseling psychologist and founder of Cardiac Yoga has been often quoted by the American Health Association, on the benefits of Yoga for heart health. “Yoga also has proven benefits for those who have faced cardiac arrest, heart attack or other heart event.” according to Cunningham. “The acute emotional stress of such an event certainly has a significant and adverse effect on the heart,” she said. “That’s where yoga can be a tremendous benefit to manage the stress.”
“The calming benefits of yoga can make you see benefits right away. After your first yoga class, your blood pressure will likely be lower, you’ll be relaxed and you’ll feel better, says Cunningham.*
An activity that helps manage the physical, emotional and spiritual part of your health and well being - what’s not to love!
3. Get on a bike
A fabulous aerobic exercise for your heart, getting onto a bike is a good routine to follow. Unlike running riding a bike reduces the impact of injury on your knees and gives you the chance to take on a rigorous exercise routine with lesser impact on your key joints. Top that up with amazing views of the outdoors and your heart will be singing with happiness and health - through and through.
4. Weight or Interval Training
Increasing your heart rate with a variety of repetitions and recovery time between sets or different exercises puts your heart rate into incremental and recovery mode. This form of training is great for preventing heart disease and diabetes and of course losing the bulge.
Get short bursts of high-intensity exercise (15 to 60 seconds is also good enough!) with slightly longer periods of active recovery and help improve your cardiovascular function and burn calories.
5. Just Move!
When all else fails don’t give exercise too much thought. Just get off that couch and move! Whether it’s climbing the stairs or swimming laps in your condo pool, if there’s an opportunity where you can add steps and movement to your plan, do it right away. Just remember that increasing your heart rate with these small movement can help incredibly with its heart health (just don’t go over your recommended maximum heart rate!) - so every little concerted effort can get you massive returns!
About Dr Ramasami Nandakumar
Dr Ramasami Nandakumar is currently working as a Senior Interventional Cardiologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital and Mount Alvernia Hospital. He is also a Visiting Senior Consultant at Ng Teng Fong Hospital and National University Hospital. You can reach Dr Kumar on +65 82616483 (WhatsApp also) or via his website www.h2h.com.sg