Exercise for a Healthier Heart

Staying healthy at Kirby Pines

Valentines and Hearts are everywhere this season. February is the American Heart Month reminding us to keep our heart healthy by diet, rest, and exercise. Remember your heart is a muscle and exercising makes it stronger and healthier. Research shows that people who do not exercise have a greater risk of heart disease than active people. Like all exercise programs, check with your physician before beginning any new regimen. So, “What exercise works best for my heart?”

Here are a few basic pointers:
Include Aerobic or cardio exercise like walking, swimming, or biking. You should move fast enough to raise your heart rate and breathe a little harder, but not so fast that you cannot catch your breath or be able to carry a conversation. Three to five times a week for 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise is recommended by the CDC. Ten or fifteen-minute sessions work just as well as 30 to 60 minutes. Our water aerobics and the sit and stand exercise classes will get your heart rate up without wearing you out. Also, the Nustep, treadmill and recumbent bike can raise your heart rate and monitor your heart rate, too.

Stretching is also important. Be sure to stretch after warming up for a few minutes and after each exercise session to keep your body more flexible. Stretch gently (no pain) and hold your stretch for at least 30 seconds. We offer Tai Chi and Yoga classes to provide full body stretching as well as water aerobics and sit and stand classes that finish with stretching.

Strength training uses weights and resistance like with stretch bands or in water, and even your own body weight (yoga). Do strength exercises 2 or 3 times a week resting a day between sessions. The Oasis has weight resistance equipment for upper and lower body work. Resistance levels can be increased on the Nustep and the bike.

It is never too late to begin an exercise habit. Start gradually 10 – 15 minutes at a time and increase slowly… If you experience pain or pressure in your chest or trouble breathing, stop immediately and get medical assistance. A little soreness, in the beginning, is normal, but if the pain lasts more than 2 hours after exercise it may mean you have overdone it. After a few weeks, you can increase your workouts for longer sessions and add more resistance gradually. Exercise is a key to a healthier heart. Check out the schedule of exercise classes or make an afternoon appointment with Mary Hand if you want to learn more about the equipment in the Oasis. Remember an active life leads to a healthy heart.

– Mary