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February is American Heart Month, which provides a great opportunity to work on your cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in United States, but the risks can be limited. An active lifestyle is an effective way to improve your heart health.
It’s easy to set up a heart-healthy training program. Find an activity from this list that you like and use it to strengthen your heart.
It doesn’t matter whether you prefer trails, a treadmill or the sidewalk. Running can prevent high blood pressure, helps keep your arteries clear of plaque and lowers your risk of coronary artery disease.
Invest in a good pair of running shoes and aim for something between a jog and a light sprint. If you’re better motivated by goals, pick a 5K or 10K run a few months down the road to train for.
Swimming is a hefty calorie burning addition to your cardio program. Keep a brisk pace while swimming laps to burn calories and boost your cardio. Swimming is a low-impact exercise, which makes it ideal for older exercisers or those with joint pain or other joint-related issues.
Another low-impact but effective cardiovascular exercise. If you’re just getting into an exercise routine, try more casual indoor recumbent cycling. Or, commune with nature with outdoor rides. If you want to boost the intensity some, challenge yourself with a group cycling class.
Don’t underestimate walking. The Mayo Clinic lists plenty of benefits from a daily brisk walk that include maintaining a healthy weight, preventing heart disease and diabetes, improving balance, and even improving mood. Walking uphill takes the intensity up a notch and is even better on your heart.
It’s not always easy to find the time to put in long workouts each week. HIIT offers an effective training option that doesn’t take up a lot of time. Instead of a steady, 20-minute treadmill run, try sprinting near your maximum pace for 20 to 30 seconds and then lowering your pace to a slow jog for a minute or two. Repeat the process for 20 minutes or so for an effective fat burning workout.
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