Up to 80% of all premature deaths by heart disease are preventable. The World Heart Federation aims to spread awareness of the common and avoidable causes of heart problems to reduce the prevalence of this serious health issue. To that end, World Heart Day has taken place annually since 2000 to highlight the cause and promote simple, achievable lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart damage. Common activities include free public heart screenings, awareness talks, global campaigns, organised fundraisers for national heart charities and other events aimed at engaging the average person in the importance of monitoring the welfare of their heart.
Regular exercise combined with a sensible diet is one of the most effective way to care for your heart and ensure it keeps pumping vigorously for years to come. The key aim of any cardio exercise is to safely raise your heart rate and improve your body’s stamina and familiarity with having your blood pumping hard. Some exercises are better than others for providing specific cardiac benefits.
If you’re looking for something that is kind to your joints, swimming could be the exercise for you. The reduced physical resistance of the water guarantees the minimum amount of wear and tear on any vulnerable tendons or muscle groups, while the high rate of activity required to propel yourself will up your heart rate safely and consistently.
If you already have a decent amount of stamina, running is a great workout for your entire body which also focuses specifically on increasing the robustness of your heart. 30 minutes regular running or jogging at a moderate pace conditions your body against increased cardiac activity and encourages your heart to stay strong.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a specific mode of exercise which focuses on repeated intervals of intense activity broken up by short periods of rest. There is no one formula for HIIT, but it can involve circuits of sprints, lunges, or body weight exercises like push-ups and sit-ups. HIIT keeps your body pumping blood hard between sets and after exercising, resulting in a higher quality cardiovascular result than one long session of moderate exercise. HIIT is not for the faint of heart, figuratively or literally, but can be used to take your cardio routine to the next level.
Indoor rowing has gained increased prominence as a useful tool for a full body cardio workout. Often recommended as a warm up exercise before a full session, it can also be a great routine in itself to up the conditioning to your heart and keep it in tune with your entire body. Rowing uses up to 84% of your muscle groups in each stroke, drawing from the legs for the initial power, with your upper body and arms carrying the form. Properly utilised, indoor rowing encourages your heart to circulate to a number of areas, improving overall stamina and resilience.
Whether you have a fully loaded gym routine or are more comfortable with a brisk stroll around the neighbourhood, being smart about including exercise in your schedule each day is one of the easiest ways to reduce your chance of heart disease and contribute to an active and healthy life for years to come.