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Heart Health through Exercise

The heart has forever been a symbol of love. A giant, beating emblem that we use to express our feelings toward one another. But how much do we love the heart that beats within each one of us? Do we love it enough to care for it the way that we should?

Our hearts are a muscle. Though we may not feel the effects that exercise has on it, it is imperative that we work this muscle on a daily basis. The stronger we make this muscle, the more efficiently it will work for us, and the more likely it will be that we will add a few more years onto our lives.

The best way to build our heart into the efficiently running machine God meant for it to be is through aerobic excercise. The term aerobic means “with oxygen”. It involves constant movement of our muscles that will increase our bodies need for oxygen. It is during this constant movement that our hearts are beating faster and harder to obtain that oxygen by pumping the blood through our bodies. Every time it pumps (contracts) it becomes larger and stronger. When worked like this on a regular basis, it continues to become conditioned and ultimately, healthier.

An example of this is someone who is attempting to tone their abdominals. They work them three to four times a week, conditioning them through a series of exercises that forces them to contract and release the muscles. Eventually they not only have a mid-section to die for, but they have fewer back problems as well because they have strengthened their core muscles, the muscles that support their back. The same is true for our heart. Not only will it work more effectively at pumping more blood and oxygen to the parts of our bodies that need it, but now it’s a well conditioned heart. Rather than beating at 70 beats per minute, it only has to beat 40 per minute instead. It’s only working half as hard to get the same amount of work done. This in turn lowers our risk of heart attack, stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

The greatest part of it all is that you don’t have to join a gym or kill yourself to get the amount of aerobic exercise needed on a daily basis. The following are a few ideas you can use, even if you have the busiest of lifestyles or are just beginning.

* PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS

Simply running around with your kids for a half an hour will leave you breathless and should give you a pretty good workout.

* DANCE WHILE YOU CLEAN

Dancing is a great aerobic workout and many videos on the market incorporate it these days. So the next time you have your broomstick in your hand, consider it your dance partner, put on your favorite music and cha-cha!

* TAKE A WALK

This is the most highly recommended form of aerobic exercise there is. Even if you can only fit in ten minutes here and there, it’s better than no minutes at all.

* TAKE A BIKE RIDE

Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve sat on a Scwhinn, but like they say, you never forget how to. A ten or fifteen minute bike ride can relieve stress and be a heart healthy exercise.

Just about anything that will get you up and moving for a consistent period of time can be considered aerobic. You don’t have to make it complicated, just make it fun. Always check with your doctor first if you haven’t exercised in a while and remember, you’re doing it for the love of your heart!