heart healthy exercises

February 9th, 2015

Resolution Revival – 8 Heart Healthy Exercises You Can Do at Home

Barely a month into 2015 and already experiencing skip-the-gym guilt? It’s OK, we get it. But don’t give up yet – being short on time doesn’t have to mean neglecting your fitness. We’ve got your resolution revival routine ready to go. Here are 8 heart healthy exercises you can do at home.

  1. Stair climbing – Did you know that your vertical fitness isn’t the same as your regular fitness level? Whether it’s hitting the steps in your home, or ditching the elevator at work in favor of some flights, make walking (or running!) stairs a part of your daily routine.
  2. Walking – You don’t have to run to reap the benefit of daily movement. Walking is equally effective for blood circulation, and it’s easier on the knees! Whether it’s extra laps around the house, the office or just parking farther away when running errands, there are countless ways to walk your way to good health. And don’t forget to count your steps! Pedometers are great motivators – aim for 10,000 steps (roughly five miles) a day for maximum impact.
  3. Jumping jacks – A quick and equipment-free way to get your heart rate up? Jumping jacks! Just a few sets twice a day will keep your ticker in top shape.
  4. Calf raises – Perfect for doing anytime, anywhere, calf raises can be done while brushing your teeth or even washing dishes. And since increasing your muscle tone means a faster metabolism, your waistline will thank you for it.
  5. Chair dips – Tone arms and increase strength with this do anywhere exercise. Position yourself with your back facing a chair, palms on the edge, feet flat. Lower your body up and down using just your arms, as many reps as you can manage. This targets your triceps and gets your heart rate going.
  6. Squats/lunges – Doing toning and strengthening exercises like squats and lunges makes you more physically fit and improves your resting heart rate. The more fit you are overall, the less hard your heart needs to work when at rest. So plant your feet and rep it out!
  7. Ball squeezes – Your child’s inflatable ball is good for more than just playground games! Lay on your back, place the ball between your knees and squeeze your knees inward on the ball. This increases thigh strength and hones those stabilizer muscles.
  8. Jumping rope – Much like jumping jacks, this exercise is top notch for cardio health. And like jumping jacks, you can do it without equipment –if you don’t have a rope handy, just simulate it by swinging your arms and jumping in place. Aim to keep sets at no less than 90 seconds each.

Your goal: to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity in four to six times a week for weight maintenance, with more vigorous activity if your goal is weight loss. The less weight your body carries, the less strain it puts on your heart – it’s as simple as that. Just think, you’ll be back on track before you can say “Valentine’s Day.” But don’t wonder about your heart health, know. Find out your “real” heart age with our quick and easy Sentara Heart Health Profiler tool.