February is American Heart Month and a good time to re-evaluate your exercise habits. Exercise is a great activity for those in recovery to incorporate into their daily routine because drugs and alcohol can take a toll on the whole body. Regular exercise can be a beneficial way to reduce stress, boost mood, build strength, and improve circulation. It’s good for your heart because it helps lower blood pressure and reduces “bad” cholesterol (LDL), while increasing “good” cholesterol (HDL). It also keeps your heart muscle strong.
Simple Exercises to Keep your Heart Healthy
To take steps to keep your heart healthy and your body fit, here are a few exercises you can incorporate into your workout routine. You should try to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days per week.
- Walking: This is probably the easiest exercise to incorporate because you can do it virtually anywhere and you don’t need any special equipment. Just lace up your sneakers and you’re ready to go. Vary your speed and add some hills to raise and lower your heart rate as you go and give your heart more of a workout.
- Swimming: If you’re looking for an exercise that is low-impact and easier on your joints, try swimming. This also provides a full-body workout because it works multiple muscle groups. Find an indoor pool for year-round swimming. You might also consider water aerobics while you’re there.
- Yoga: This gentle exercise reduces your blood pressure and takes stress off of your heart. It helps to make your blood vessels more elastic for better circulation too. At the same time, you’ll be building core strength and stretching your muscles.
- Biking: Whether you hop on a road bike or a stationary bike, it provides a great aerobic workout for your body and is fairly low impact. As you pump your legs, you’re also pumping blood to and from your heart.
- Weight training: In addition to cardio, you should also incorporate strength exercises. Using weights makes your heart work harder during repetitions and then it recovers during rest periods.
Exercising your heart can boost your overall health and wellbeing and help you to stay on track with your recovery. Find exercises you enjoy and make them part of your regular routine.
Tell us what exercises you love doing to promote heart health in the comments and on Facebook!