Given that your heart has a 24*7 job, and a very important one at that, you must keep this vital organ at the peak of its functioning for as long as you can. When it comes to heart health, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in keeping cardiovascular diseases at bay. One of the pillars of such a healthy lifestyle is exercise. Therefore, it’s safe to say that almost every type of exercise aids heart health, and according to the American Heart Organization (ref. link), a sedentary lifestyle can actually put your heart health at risk.
While it is true that almost all exercise is good for you, it’s important to understand how different exercise affects the body. Experts suggest that cardio and strength training are complementary to one another, and engaging in one should not affect your engagement in the other. According to a US News Health article (ref. link), both forms of exercise keep us fit and make daily activities easier. For example, consistent cardio makes tasks like standing for long periods, walking the dog, or running to catch a bus much easier, while on the other hand, spending time with strength training lowers the effort needed to climb a flight of stairs, pick up grocery bags, and do common household chores.
Cardio or cardiovascular exercises are typically those that are designed to get your heart rate up. They are also referred to as aerobic exercise and are mostly incorporated into a weight loss routine. According to one article (ref. link), cardiovascular exercise relies on the body’s ability to use oxygen during the exercise session. Common types of cardio exercises include cycling, swimming, running, and walking.
Cardio exercises improve blood circulation, which helps in lowering blood pressure and reducing heart rate. Johns Hopkins Medicine (ref. link) believes that engaging in aerobic activities can control blood glucose levels and thereby reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Cardio exercises put the same muscles to use by engaging in repetitive movements, making the heart beat faster. According to an article (ref. link), regular cardio workouts can help in strengthening the blood vessels, improving oxygen flow, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Strength training, also known as resistance training, is designed to improve muscle strength and endurance. It is typically done by overloading a group of muscles for a selected amount of time. These exercises are often linked with weight lifting but other common strength training exercises include lunges, squats, push-ups, bicep curls, crunches, and more.
According to research (ref. link), strength training exercises help in improving circulation and releasing oxygen in all parts of the body. It also shows that weight training exercises reduce the risk of a heart stroke or attack. According to this Hopkins Medicine article (ref. link), strength training exercises have a specific impact on body weight. They help reduce fat and create leaner muscle mass, which is good for a healthy heart as this helps raise HDL and lower LDL.
We can safely conclude that both cardio exercise and strength training exercises affect your heart health positively. Research (ref. link) has shown that either type of activity is beneficial for the overall fitness of the heart. One article (ref. link) determines that cardiovascular exercises impact the heart more directly since those help lower the heart rate, while strength training exercises benefit the heart more indirectly. By increasing muscle mass, strength training exercise helps reduce blood pressure thereby helping the heart. Experts believe (ref. link) that to maximize the benefits and keep the heart at its fittest, people should incorporate both cardio and strength training exercises in their workout regime. People who combine the two exercises seem to experience greater health improvements than those who do either of the two exercises only.
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While strength training helps with weight management, controlling cholesterol levels, and lowering blood pressure, it is advised to combine strength training exercises with other cardio exercises for optimal results.
A combination of strength training and cardio training is best to keep the heart fit. The most important thing for heart health is regular exercise. Any type of exercise is linked to improving heart health.
Regular cardio can help in strengthening the heart and blood vessels. It can also help in lowering blood sugar levels and managing cholesterol.
Engaging in too much cardio can make the metabolism slow and the weight loss journey also gradual. The rate at which calories are burned is also reduced thus risking weight gain and negatively impacting the heart.
Undergoing strength training exercises daily can have a negative impact on the overall fitness of the body. Using the same muscles, again and again, does not give them enough time to repair, thus slowing down the benefits and risking pain or injury.
Other Heart Health Topics To Explore:
Normal Resting Heart Rate | How to Improve Heart Health | Exercise for Heart Health | Endurance Training | Irregular Heartbeat | Best Heart Rate Monitor | Heart Attack Symptoms | Healthy Heart Tips | Running Heart Rate Zones | Low Heart Rate Symptoms.