Cardiovascular Health: Sports that are Great for Your Heart, Joints, and Fitness

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Healthy heart, happy life. The importance of cardiovascular health is huge to living a happy and healthy life which is why taking the time to exercise is crucial. Statistically, people who don’t consistently exercise are almost twice as likely to experience heart disease. Your heart is a muscle and it gets healthier and stronger with an active lifestyle. Now, you don’t have to be an athlete to get a workout in. 30 minutes of movement a day can make a big difference, and finding an exercise that you are passionate about and doesn’t strain your body can make exercising fun! If high-impact exercises that jostle your joints cause you pain, there are other ways to stay fit: low-impact exercises.

Cardiovascular Health: Sports that are Great for Your Heart, Joints, and Fitness

How to start exercising:

Start slowly and build-up

When beginning your journey of exercising consistently, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to warm up and cool down with easy walking or gentle stretching. Proceed to then speed up the pace, gradually increasing the amount of time you exercise.

Break your exercises up

There is no need to complete all of your exercises in one sitting. Feel free to break up your activities throughout your day, maybe going for a walk in the morning and completing a more specific workout in the evening. Exercising in short sessions throughout the day may fit better into a schedule and can be easier to consume.

Mix things up

Be creative! Be adventurous with your workouts, you don’t have to stick to one specific exercise and your body and brain will be thankful. Find activities you enjoy to add to your fitness routine.

Listen to your body

Please listen to your body. If you feel any shortness of breath, dizziness, any type of pain, take a break. It is perfectly okay to give your body a chance to catch up to the exercise before you hop back into it or take a break for the day.

Be flexible

Going along with listening to your body, don’t feel bad if you aren’t up to exercise every single day. Give yourself permission to take a day or two off to give your body a chance to rest. Don’t forget to check in with your doctor. They’ll make sure you’re ready for whatever activity you have in mind and let you know about any limits on what you can do.

Low-Impact Exercises

Exercising can take a toll on your body and your joints. Low-impact exercises, however, are a great option to work your cardiovascular health while still protecting your body. There is a multitude of different workouts to complete that are great for your heart, your joints, and your fitness.

Walking

Walking is an easy and popular way to exercise, and it is very easy to see why. All you need is a good pair of comfortable sneakers, and you’re ready to go. You can complete your walking anywhere and everywhere, as well as tailor it to your fitness level. If you are looking to challenge yourself, you can pick up your pace or walk in a more hilly part of town.

Elliptical Training and Stair Machines

Similar to walking, stationary machinery like elliptical training and stair machines are much easier on your joints than full running. With the elliptical machine, you are still moving similarly to running but not straining your ankles or knees like you would when you run. The benefits of the elliptical are endless. You can boost your stamina and cardio capacity, get both an upper and lower body workout, burn body fat, improve your balance, and put less strain on your joints. Again, make sure you have a proper pair of sneakers to keep you comfortable during your exercise.

Racquetball

Because you’re in constant motion, racquetball benefits your most important muscle – your heart. One hour of playing racquetball is equivalent to running two miles and it’s much easier on your joints. Racquetball also strengthens your bones and muscles as you use all your major muscle groups in a game. You use a wide range of motion in racquetball, forcing your body to stretch and increase your flexibility and improve balance and coordination. Racquetball improves hand-eye coordination and mental agility and works the entire body, plus it’s fun!

Swimming

Aquatic exercising is a gentle but effective way to condition your joints, but did you know that it can also improve your heart health? Swimming is a low-impact exercise that provides benefits regardless of age or weight. Because water buoyancy is easier on the joints, people with very painful joints due to arthritis or other conditions can take up swimming to improve their fitness and cardiovascular health. Even if you aren’t into swimming laps, activities like water aerobics and deep or shallow water walking are good for joints and hearts. To find more information about specific aquatic exercises, take a look at your local health club or recreation center. As with any exercise program, be sure to consult with a physician before you begin.

Weight Training

Weightlifting eases joint pain and stiffness by strengthening the muscle groups around affected joints can improve function and ease pain in people with joint conditions. Weightlifting can also boost bone strength. By gently stressing your bones, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Strengthening your core can help increase balance and coordination and prevent falls, as well.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is an exercise that engages your whole body. By holding a series of poses, you can work your core and strengthen the muscles that hold your joints in position. Tai chi doesn’t require any equipment to participate and is very relaxing while still maintaining the benefits of physical exercise like joint health and cardiovascular health.

Dance Classes

A fun and exciting exercise, dancing, builds and maintains flexibility of joints and muscles which helps prevent injury in your daily life. The impact of movement can help strengthen bones and aid in preventing osteoporosis. The moving of joins helps them stay mobile and lubricated all while working your cardiovascular health!

Cycling

Cycling is a non-weight bearing and low impact exercise that won’t strain your joints. Cycling outdoors can be a very relaxing way to get your exercise in the fresh air, but don’t worry if you live in a colder climate. Stationary cycling is safe, stable and fun, and can be done year-round regardless of the weather! The benefits of cycling are endless. With cycling, you can increase cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility. It can also help improve joint mobility, posture, and coordination, and strengthen bones.

Exercising to Cardiovascular Health

Exercising doesn’t have to be intense and pain enduring. Some of the best exercises for the body are low impact but have huge benefits on your cardiovascular health. The opportunities are endless to work out in a safe and healthy way to prevent harm to your joints but improve your cardiovascular fitness. Just 30 minutes of movement a day can make a huge difference, whether it be going for a swim, a walk, or moving your body in a dance class. Get out there and find a sport that you love that is great for your heart and your joints!

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