February isn’t just a month for love; it’s a month for hearts, too! Each February marks American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of heart health, ailments that affect the heart, and the things we can all do to improve our cardiovascular health and, subsequently, our quality of life and life expectancy as well.
Some heart problems can be prevented or resolved with treatment, and others are genetic or chronic (incurable). All cardiovascular issues, however, can be prevented, improved, and/or managed with the right lifestyle choices used in conjunction with treatment from a doctor. For example, taking steps to mitigate or reduce stress and anxiety, eating healthy, and exercising.
This American Heart Month, Gulf Coast Health Center is focusing on exercising for a healthier heart, and we invite you to talk with your doctor about adding the following heart-healthy exercises to your physical activities.
3 Types of Exercise for a Healthier Heart
Aerobic means “with air” and aerobic exercise is the kind that really gets you breathing. This type of exercise helps to improve your body’s circulation, lower blood pressure, and decrease average heart rate. Aerobic exercises include speed walking, swimming, running, cycling, tennis, and jumping rope.
2. Strength (Resistance) Training
Strength training helps to increase muscle mass and reduce fat, making a person’s overall body composition healthier. Strength training exercises include lifting weights (free weights or weight machines), working with resistance bands, and doing body-resistance exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc.).
3. Flexibility and Balance
Stretching exercise does not necessarily affect your heart health. They do, however, benefit the musculoskeletal system overall, improving its function. As a result, practicing flexibility and balance training improves a person’s ability to strength train and participate in aerobic exercise.
Schedule a Checkup and Cardiovascular Health Screening at Gulf Coast Health Center
For optimal heart health, healthy adults should aim for about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise weekly. That being said, we do not recommend drastically changing your level of intensity of physical activity without first consulting with a doctor to determine a healthy level of exercise based on your own unique needs and health history.
To learn more about heart health or to find out whether you’re at risk for heart disease, we encourage you to schedule an appointment for a cardiovascular health screening at Gulf Coast Health Center today.
Gulf Coast Health Center, Inc. is a private, non-profit community based organization. We are partially funded through grants, including funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration. A sliding fee scale is available to all patients regardless of insurance.