World Heart Day: Seven exercises to keep your heart healthy and young

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It is very important to keep one’s heart-healthy whereby the circulation of blood to every organ is maintained well and the organ reserves are utilised at the time of need.

Things to consider before starting cardiac endurance exercises:

1. If one has any risk factors such as a family history of cardiac disease, smoking, obesity or high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes, then before starting an exercise program it is advised to consult a physician so that the right kind of exercises can be chosen for safety and health benefits.

2. These exercises are targeted towards keeping the heart rate up to 80% of the maximum heart rate (beats per minute) which is one’s age subtracted from 220.

Here are seven basic exercises for a healthy heart

1. Walking: One needs to set a pace by which one can get the best cardiac benefits out of walking. After walking at a moderate pace with comfortable strides over a fixed time and distance, one needs to check the pulse rate which is an indicator of the heart rate. If it is more than 80% of the maximum heart rate, then one needs to reduce the number of steps for the same distance with added time, and if the heart rate is less than 80% of the maximum heart rate then increase the number of steps for the same distance within lesser time. Even though it is easy nowadays to check these through gadgets such as a Fitbit, it is fun to know your body yourself.

2. Intermittent jogging: This is for those who are already into regular walking. To introduce short jogging in between walking is like bringing short bursts of workouts in between the regular intensity of walking. Each time jogging should be followed by three times walking time.

3. Jogging: This is for those who are already into basic workouts and intermittent jogging. They can graduate to jogging by keeping distance and time as indicators to reach 80% of maximum heart rate.

4. Walking with the pace of breathing: This is for beginners who have not been exercising regularly. With one’s normal range of breath, count the number of steps taken on one inhalation and steps walked with one exhalation. Continue with the same pace in sync with the breath.

5. Swimming: This too should be in sync with breathing which will help the individual get the maximum benefits. Inhalation and exhalation must be of the same duration of exhalation can be longer. Arm strokes are the counts with each phase of the breath.

6. Yoga: Daily practice of Surya Namaskar, which has both inhalation and exhalation based postures alternately, brings in optimum benefit in circulation. Also, yoga balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems and benefits the heart.

7. Tai-Chi: Mindful movement with repetitive patterns calms one’s mind and benefits the heart by reducing stress.

By – Dr Karthiyayini Mahadevan, Head, Wellness and Wellbeing, Columbia Pacific Communities

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