Mind & body exercises to supercharge your heart health
Everyone knows there are a myriad of physical factors that affect your heart health – from eating a well balanced diet to working out every day. But did you know that the mind-body connection can also be a key factor in reducing your risk of heart disease?
Research shows that your mood, outlook, and stress levels all strongly affect the body, and of course the heart. This means that reducing your risk of heart disease isn’t just about eating better or exercising regularly – you should also be trying to fit in stress-reducing exercises and mind-body practices too.
Here are Qardio’s suggestions for the most effective exercises for that mind-body connection – helping you boost your mood, focus better and improve your fitness all at the same time!
Pilates aims to strengthen the body and calm the mind, and was created in the 1920s by German-born Joseph Pilates, who believed mental and physical health were closely connected. His method was influenced by gymnastics, boxing and Greco-Roman wrestling, with moves constructed to enhance your core strength and calm your mind simultaneously.
A classic Pilates move is the lunge – following our guide, start by alternating 20 second sets of high intensity lunge movements with 40 seconds of rest. If the movement feels too easy, you can create more of a challenge for yourself by adding weights for extra resistance. This move strengthens your core while also protecting your knees and back from strain.
For a total body workout that will get your heart pumping but also relax you, look no further than your nearest pool! Studies have shown that swimmers are calmer, have lower heart rates and better blood pressure. As swimming is a low-impact exercise, it’s a great option if you’re older, suffering from arthritis or recovering from a heart condition. With a potential calorie burn of 500 cal per hour, it’s also one of the most effective and relaxing exercises you can do while burning fat.
Rowing is a great way to relax and take the stress off your joints while exercising – but if you don’t have a boat, don’t worry! Rowing machines are in most gyms and are designed to replicate the movements used when rowing a boat. Not only do they build muscle through resistance, they provide great cardiovascular exercise A rowing workout gets your heart going with less stress on your ankles and knees than you get from running on a treadmill. It also allows you to use interval training, which can supercharge your heart health and fat burning. Check out our exercise advice below for proper row form to ensure your exercise stays injury-free.
Another low-intensity exercise with heart health benefits is yoga. Yoga increases core strength and tones muscles, improving flexibility and balance. It also helps you relax, lowering blood pressure, improving heart rate and circulation. Long-term, sustained yoga can play a role in boosting heart health. As an exercise it is great for all ages and a wide range of athletic abilities because it is adaptable. Try attending a class, buying a DVD or finding videos online to get started. Just 30 minutes of the deep breathing and stretching involved in yoga is a great start to improving your heart health.
Do you know someone who has been looking for a new exercise to introduce into their regime? Share our tips to jump-start their heart health.