What are the three types of exercises recommended to maintain a “protected” heart?

A guide with the best options to avoid cardiovascular disease, according to an expert from Johns Hopkins University.

Getting moving is one of the best protective shields for heart health.

Several studies have shown that cardiovascular disease, which affects the function and circulation of blood vessels, can be prevented through regular physical activity, especially aerobic or resistance exercise, also known as cardio.

There are four pillars of a heart-healthy lifestyle, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises: eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and doing exercise regularly.

As for physical activity, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends doing at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week, plus at least two days of training of moderate to intense force.

Being physically active is an important step toward good heart health. It is one of the most effective tools for strengthening the heart muscle, keeping weight under control, and preventing arterial damage caused by high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure that can lead to heart attack or stroke. stroke.

1.- Aerobic exercise

“Aerobic exercise improves circulation, which results in lower blood pressure and heart rate,” says Stewart.

In addition, according to the expert, it increases general aerobic fitness and helps cardiac output (how well the heart pumps).

Aerobic exercise also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and, if a person is already living with diabetes, helps control blood glucose.

How much: Ideally, at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.

Some examples: brisk walking, running, swimming, bicycling, tennis, and jumping rope. Heart-pumping aerobic exercise is the type doctors have in mind when they recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity.

2.- Resistance training (strength work)

“Resistance training has a more specific effect on body composition,” Stewart stressed. And added:

“For people who have a lot of body fat, it can help reduce fat and create leaner muscle mass.

Research shows that a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance work can help raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.”

How much: At least two non-consecutive days per week of resistance training is a good rule of thumb, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Some examples: Exercising with free weights (such as hand weights, dumbbells, or barbells), on weight machines, with resistance bands, or through body-resistance exercises such as push-ups, squats, and pull-ups.

3.- Stretching, flexibility and balance

“Flexibility exercises, such as stretching, do not directly contribute to heart health. What they do is benefit musculoskeletal health, allowing you to stay flexible and free from joint pain, cramps, and other muscle problems.

This flexibility is a fundamental part to be able to maintain aerobic exercise and resistance training”, indicated the expert.

For the specialist, “if a person has a good musculoskeletal base, that allows them to do the exercises that help their heart.

As an added benefit, flexibility and balance exercises help maintain stability and prevent falls, which can cause injuries that limit other types of exercise.”

How much: every day and before and after another exercise.

Some examples: A doctor may recommend basic stretches to do at home. Tai chi and yoga also improve these skills, and classes are available in many communities.