3 Cardiovascular Exercises for a Healthy Heart
Exercising is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, which is responsible for 25% of American deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Just like the biceps in your arms and quadriceps in your legs, your heart is a muscle. When you engage in strength training, your muscles grow stronger. An active lifestyle strengthens your heart. A sedentary lifestyle, where your job and your leisure activities involve little or no physical activity, can double your risk of dying from heart disease.
While COVID-19 significantly impacted our access to gyms, fitness centers and organized sports activities, your heart health doesn’t have to suffer. You can be just as active at home, even without equipment. Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation’s Lead Clinical Exercise Physiologist Lauren Conley recommends trying these exercises a few times a week to reduce your risk and improve your heart health.
1. STANDING SQUAT WITH SIDE LEG RAISE
Stand with your feet just outside your hips. Bend your knees into a squat position and come back up to standing. Raise your right leg out to side as far as your range of motion allows. Repeat the squat and switch to the other side for the leg raise. Repeat 10 times on each side. Use a chair for support or to modify the exercise.
2. CALF RAISE WITH HIGH KNEE
Stand with your feet under your hips. Raise up onto your toes and slowly come back down. At the same time, raise your shoulders to your ears, as if you are shrugging. Repeat both motions at the same time, 10 times through.
3. SEATED SIT-UPS
Sit on the front edge of a chair, feet flat on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest and be sure you are sitting up straight. Slowly lower your back until it taps the chair then slowly raise up to your starting position. Repeat this motion at a slow pace 10 times. If the exercise is too difficult, slide back to the middle of your chair.
For two more exercises and an instructional video to ensure you’re doing these moves properly, read this blog: 5 Cardio Exercises You Can Do At Home.