Walk, walk, walk!
That’s the best advice I give to my patients.
Healthy lifestyle = healthy heart!
What’s the best exercise for the heart?
Its Aerobic exercise which the heart needs. Aerobic exercises increases the heart rate and thereby improve cardiac reserve.
Which are the Aerobic Exercises I can do?
Exercises which result in an increase in heart rate are good. These include:
How does one know that the heart rate increases on a particular exercise?
One can feel his pulse or also feel the heart beats in the form of palpitations. Nowadays, one can buy a heart rate monitor which can be applied on the chest or on the arm.
Does slow walking help?
Yes it does help to a certain extent. However it may not result in good increase in heart rate if the pace of walking is slow.
How much should the heart rate increase to?
The heart rate should increase to a 80 to 85% of your maximum heart rate. One can calculate his maximum heart rate by the formula 220-age.
Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) = 220 – age of the individual
How long should this heart rate increase persist?
To derive maximum benefit, one should maintain the momentum of exercise for at least 15-20 minutes.
What health benefits does aerobic exercise offer?
Reduces chances of heart attacks
Improves cardiac reserve
Improves joint mobility and reduces arthritis
Strengthens bones and joints
Increases ones confidence
Also, its doesn’t cost a thing!
Which is the best exercise?
Brisk walking happens to be the best as it can be done by individuals of all age groups. It can be done even if you are travelling out of town. It can be done any time of the day. and doesn’t cost a penny! Also its less stressful on the joints compared to running which can cause knee pain. If one has access to swimming pool, swimming is good for individuals with arthritis issues.
Whats the current recommendation for Exercise?
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30-45 minutes of exercise for all individuals for a minimum of 5 days in a week.
What about yoga?
Yoga/ Asanas are static postures and so do nothing to increase heart rate (and thereby the cardiac reserve). Pranayam and Yogasanas relaxes the body and mind and stretches the joints and muscles. Thereby, they provide a relaxing effect and reduce heart rate and blood pressure. They also help in reducing anxiety.
What about Surya-namaskars?
Surya-namaskars if done at a fast pace can increase heart rate and improve cardiac reserve. However for most of us its easier to go out walking than do surya-namaskars. Also the heart rate increase with surya-namaskars may not be to the extent as with other aerobic exercises.
What about mental health?
Relaxing techniques like pranayam, breathing techniques and even praying can relax one’s mind and provide much needed rest to the mind. Good sleep and adequate lesiure time is also necessary.