Health Topics

Healthy Living

September 2011
Do it for your Heart!
Exercises for a healthy heart
L K Adhikari
There has been a marked increase in the general prosperity and economic prowess of people in recent years; thanks to economic liberalization.This has translated into people, these days, buying products which make doing things easier. The idea is not to put too much of effort in doing anything.

Sedentary lifestyles, therefore, are the norm than the exception today. Such a lifestyle, though comfortable on a myopic range, has brought along a host of ailments in its wake. The risk of heart disease is chief among these ailments. Fortunately, it is a risk that you can do away with by incorporating a structured exercise program into your daily routine.

Exercises for a Healthy Heart
  • Some physical activity at home,at work,and at play helps infinitely to get started on a healthy heart exercise plan which typically incorporates: Aerobic exercises - for about 30 minutes a day increases your heart rate.So does climbing stairs, having a brisk walk, working out on an orbital exercise machine or treadmill.
  • Moderate-intensity exercises- you could do swimming, jogging, or Pilates to exercise your heart muscles.
  • Stretching your arms and legs before, and after exercising helps in slow lengthening of the muscles. It also prepares the muscles for imminent activity, and helps prevent muscle strain. Regular stretching (twice a week) also increases your flexibility and range of motion.
  • Practising balance exercises/ techniques – such as walking heal-to-toe, standing on one foot, or standing up and sitting down without using your hands.
  • Strength and/or weight training has been demonstrated to be a good complement to aerobic training.The combination helps to prevent age-related bone, and muscle-mass losses. You might also consider playing games such as Wii Sports or Wii Fit Step Aerobics with your kids and/or family to get that much-needed exercise.
  • For people who are short on time, shorter and more frequent exercises such as mowing the lawn, vacuuming, or a short brisk walk at lunch or during a break are ideal.
For adults who are 65 and older or anyone with chronic conditions or limited mobility, you need the same amount of exercise as younger people – the activity can be less intense. Use good judgment and follow your doctor’s advice.

Exercises for Heart Patients

Other than healthy people who should exercise to keep their hearts healthy and disease-free, people with heart conditions can also be physically active to keep their hearts in good shape.

Certain safe and recommended activities include:
  • Brisk Walks with heart rate in control
  • Slow to moderately-paced cycling, climbing short flights of stairs
  • Mild weight training with lower weights and fewer sets
  • Yoga (with the exception of headstand and straining postures)
  • Pilates and stretching
  • Controlled breathing exercises
  • Household chores
  • People with heart conditions can also participate in slow to moderately-paced dancing, and in slow swimming with rests between laps
On the whole, exercises for the heart lower BP,lower bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein), increase blood circulation, improve metabolic rate, increase muscle mass and good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein).

  • Activities which heart patients need to get approved by the doctor include: jogging short distances of no more than 100 metres at a time,long brisk walks followed by walking and rest, and trekking with very mild climbs and with ample rest periods.
  • Heart patients must avoid any physical activity that strains and stresses the abdominal and thoracic cavity.
  • All strenuous activities and sports are also ruled out for such people.

L.K Adhikari is Wellness Consultant Apollo Life,Hyderabad

  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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