Exercises to Prevent Heart Attacks

Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that doesn't mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take. 

An inactive lifestyle is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. Fortunately, it's a risk factor that you can do something about. Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, has many benefits. Taking steps for preventing heart disease and all cardiovascular diseases means making smart moves now that will pay off the rest of your life.

Anyone at any age can take advantage of simple steps to keep their heart healthy. Weather you are in 20's or 60+ here’s what you can do to prevent heart disease.

Healthy diet
First of all you need to choose a healthy eating plan. The food you eat can decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. Choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars and sweeteners. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, fish, nuts, legumes and seeds. Also try eating some meals without meat. Select fat-free and low-fat dairy products and lean meats and poultry. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages and quit smoking.

Physical exercise: What Type of Exercise Is Best?
Cardiovascular or aerobic is steady physical activity using large muscle groups. This type of exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and improves the body's ability to use oxygen. You can slowly work up to at least 2½ hours (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity like brisk walking every week.

Or  you can indulge in a vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity such as jogging or running or a combination of both for an hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of  every week. Aerobic exercise has the most benefits for your heart. Over time, aerobic exercise can help your blood pressure and improve your breathing. Other aerobic exercises include: walking, jogging, jumping rope, bicycling, skiing, skating, rowing, and aerobics.

Additionally, on two or more days a week you need muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest shoulders and arms). Strengthening exercises are repeated muscle contractions. They help tone muscles, improve strength, and increase your metabolism.

So, now you know what to do, but before you start any exercise program ask your doctor. Your doctor can help you find a program that matches your level of fitness and physical condition. Your exercise session should include a warm-up, a conditioning phase, and a cool-down.

Warm-up helps your body to adjust slowly from rest to exercise. It reduces the stress on your heart and muscles, slowly increases your breathing, circulation (heart rate) and body temperature.

Conditioning follows the warm-up. All the benefits of exercise are gained and calories are burned during this phase. 

Cool-down is the last phase of your exercise session. It allows your body to gradually recover from the conditioning phase. Your heart rate and blood pressure will return to near resting values. Cool-down does not mean taking rest right after exercise. This may cause you to feel dizzy or lightheaded or have heart palpitations (fluttering in your chest). The best cool-down is to slowly decrease the intensity of your activity.

When you start any exercise program maintain a moderate level not too heavy exercise, always maintain a good posture. Keep your back straight; do not curve or slump your back. Make sure your movements are controlled and slow. Avoid quick, jerking movements. Do not bounce. Do not hold your breath during these exercises. 

Choose an activity that you enjoy. You'll be more likely to stick with an exercise program if you enjoy the activity. Add variety. Develop a group of several different activities to do on alternate days that you can enjoy. Use music to keep you entertained. Find an exercise "buddy". Plan to exercise at the same time every day (such as in the mornings when you have more energy). If you exercise regularly, it will soon become part of your lifestyle.

Here are some simple exercise you can do.

Ankle pumping. Sit on the floor with your feet straight out in front of you. Keeping your heels on the floor, lift your toes up as far as you can. Hold for a count of five.

Knee straightening. Raise your foot to fully straighten your knee out in front of you. Hold for a count of five. Lower your foot to the floor. Repeat on other side.

Hip bending. Lift one knee up toward the ceiling. As you lower this knee, raise your other knee. Alternate each leg as if you were marching in place (while sitting.)

Overhead reaching. Raise one arm straight over your head, with your palm facing away from you. Keep your elbow straight. Slowly lower your arm to your side. Repeat with other arm.

Shoulder touching. Sit with your arms at your sides and your palms facing up. Bend your elbows until your hands are touching your shoulders. Lower your hands to your sides.

Single arm lifts. Sit with your arms at your sides, fingers pointing toward the floor. Raise one arm out to your side, keeping your elbow straight and your palm facing down. Slowly lower your arm to your side. Repeat with your other arm.

Shoulder shrugs. Keeping your back straight, lift your shoulders up and forward toward your ears. Release your shoulders down and back in a smooth circular motion.

Arm circles. Sit with your arms at your sides, fingers pointing toward the floor. Raise both arms out from your sides (about 1 or 2 feet from your body). Keeping your elbows straight and your palms facing toward you, rotate your arms in small circles.

Single shoulder circles. Bending one elbow, put your fingertips on your shoulder. Rotate your shoulder and elbow clockwise, then counter clockwise. Repeat with each arm.

If you have chest pain or pain anywhere else in the body, do not allow the activity to continue. Performing an activity while in pain may cause stress or damage to the joints. If you experience chest pain, significant breathlessness, or dizziness, you should stop exercising and let your doctor know about your symptoms. 


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