5 Exercises for a Healthy Heart

Yoga is a great moderate-intensity exercise that strengthens the heart muscle while improving balance and flexibility. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Yoga is a great moderate-intensity exercise that strengthens the heart muscle while improving balance and flexibility. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

It’s National Heart Month! Here are 5 great exercises to maintain a healthy ticker (via Heart.com):

  1. Aerobics. Getting your heart rate up is essential for heart health. Try climbing the stairs, taking a brisk walk, or exercising on the elliptical machine or treadmill.
  2. Swimming, jogging, pilates and yoga. These are all moderate-intensity activities that work to strengthen your heart muscle.
  3. Strength training. This exercise does not increase heart rate, but is a great complement to aerobic exercise because it builds muscle and stamina, enabling you to do aerobic activities for longer periods of time.
  4. Balance exercises. These strengthen your body’s stabilizing muscles, helping you to prevent falls and injuries. Yoga incorporates many balancing poses. You can also try walking heel-to-toe, standing on one foot, or standing up and sitting down without using your hands.
  5. Stretching exercises. Stretching increases flexibility, and recent studies have linked it to improved cardiovascular health. Try adding 10 minutes of stretching twice per week to your regular workouts.
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5 Foods for a Healthier Heart

The folate and iron in spinach help your body to fight off disease, and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

The folate and iron in spinach help your body to fight off disease, and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Show your heart some love by making these five heart-healthy foods part of your regular diet (via WebMD):

  1. Blueberries. The anthocyanins that give blueberries their dark blue color are also powerful antioxidants that give blueberries extraordinary disease-fighting power. Blueberries are also packed with filling fiber and vitamin C. Try them over cereal, in whole-wheat pancakes or waffles, or all by themselves as a tasty snack.
  2. Salmon. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are essential for a healthy heart. Bonus: Its high protein content aids in muscle building and recovery.
  3. Soy protein. This protein contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals — all the building blocks for a heart-healthy meal. A diet rich in soy protein can also lower triglycerides, which in turn will lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
  4. Oatmeal. This breakfast favorite is a great source of whole-grains, vitamins and minerals. It’s also rich in fiber, which can help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. For nine health benefits of oatmeal, see our recent post.
  5. Spinach. Popeye knew what he was doing. Considered royalty in the vegetable kingdom, the multiple phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals (especially folate and iron) in spinach help your body to fight off disease, protect against heart disease, and preserve your eyesight.
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