by Shawn C. Spickler, Fitness Director, NMB Aquatic & Fitness Center
The North Myrtle Beach Aquatic & Fitness Center would like to invite the community to participate in supporting Heart Health Month by getting active during the month of February.
An inactive lifestyle is a big risk factor for heart disease. Fortunately, this risk factor is a variable you can control. Exercising your heart means exercising your body.
Before beginning any exercise program, be sure to consult with your physician, especially if you are on heart medications or have any restrictions due to health issues. Your doctor will be happy to help construct a healthy heart exercise program suitable for you.
The following tips will help improve your heart health and overall well-being.
Warm-up exercises help your heart and muscles adjust from a resting state to an exercise state. Warming up will gradually increase your heart rate, thus reducing the stress on your heart and muscles. Good stretching exercises for warming up include shoulder rolls, knee lifts, overhead reaches and light walking.
The bulk of your healthy heart routine will be spent doing aerobic activity. Physical activity that increases your heart rate should be done for at least 20-30 minutes a day. Swimming, brisk walking, and low-impact aerobics are all good options.
If aerobics isn’t your thing, don’t rule out exercise. Housework, yard work and other activities that you can build into your daily routine are all effective at increasing your heart rate and improving heart health.
Cooling down from exercise gradually brings your heart rate down and helps your body recover. Bring the intensity of your exercise down a few notches and include some more stretching in this phase.
Whether you practice a structured healthy heart exercise program or you consistently add physical activity into your daily routine, remember that it all adds up. And a healthy heart is a happy heart.