Exercise is the key to healthier living and helps your heart function more efficiently. It doesn’t just improve your fitness level but also keeps your heart strong. Understanding how exercise affects your heart may give you extra motivation for getting off the couch. Here’s how you can learn more about the steps you can take to develop good physical conditioning and its importance on one of the most vital organs in your body, your heart.

exerciseandhearthealth Five Great Ways Exercise Helps Your Heart

  • Exercise increases the performance of the heart by helping pump more blood in each single heart beat

  • Exercise  improves the strength of one of the heart’s primary muscles, the cardiac muscle, so it literally helps your body’s strength and function from the inside out. 

  • Increasing circulation in all areas of your body is another important benefit you’ll get from regular exercise

  • As circulation increases, this also means that vital nutrients as well as oxygen are being delivered to your body’s tissues.

  • When you get more oxygen to the tissues of the body—guess what, you’re energy will also increase!

Most people today when they think about health are also concerned about one specific substance that is critical to monitor when it comes to their health. Cholesterol, which is a waxy substance that is responsible for hormone production and is found in all cells is generally tested by your doctor during your yearly physical exam. You may have had your health care provider counsel you about the importance of reducing the bad type of cholesterol but you may not have understood the reasons why. There are two types of cholesterol HDL and LDL. The good cholesterol is called high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which helps cleanse the blood’s pathways in your body, your blood vessels, and prevents them from getting blocked. Because of this protective mechanism having appropriate levels of HDL cholesterol can be beneficial in reducing cardiovascular risks such as stroke or heart attack. For more information and tips on how to reduce your cholesterol you may want to read our article on how to reduce your cholesterol without medication.

Reducing stress is another way that exercise can help your health. High stress levels and anxiety can affect the heart in a negative fashion by triggering high levels of cortisol which can raise blood pressure and reduce the immune system’s ability to function. Regular cardiovascular exercise helps minimize physical and emotional tensions thus giving your heart and your entire body much needed relief.

If a stressful job or home life situation has left you struggling for a good night’s sleep, instead of reaching for a sleeping aid, what you may want to do is to include some vigorous exercise in your routine. Just make sure that you don’t schedule exercise too close to your bedtime, as exercising late in the evening can have a stimulating effect that actually gives you more energy, and you will want to wind down instead of rev up in the immediate time before you retire for rest and sleep at night. A good night’s sleep can also be important in controlling your blood pressure, maintaining healthy blood sugar, and keeping your cholesterol levels in check.

As your body responds to exercise, hormone levels in your body including those controlling sleep patterns may become more regular so that you may sleep more deeply and get a more complete night’s rest. Since rest and rejuvenation is so important to your heart, this is yet another way that exercise can benefit your heart health.

And of course we can’t forget to mention one of the main reasons so many people decide to include exercise in their lives. Weight loss and keeping your figure slim and trim helps not only your energy level, your endurance, self esteem, but also your heart. Doctors may measure your waistline in particular to see how your ratio of your waist to hips measures up. Increased levels of fat in the abdominal area has been known to increase the risk of heart attacks or other types of heart disease. Having a good level of physical fitness improves not only your body’s composition but helps reduce the amount of stress and therefore reduces how hard your heart must work to pump blood through your body each and every day.

Sometimes people mistakenly think that they have to spend hours in the gym each day in order to exercise. Others may want to do too much too soon and then get discouraged when they can’t run three miles on the first day of resuming an exercise program. It’s not necessary to have an all or nothing approach. The first thing you should do is to check with your doctor about how and when it’s safe for you to begin an exercise program. Then start out with small goals, perhaps taking a walk during your lunch hour or spending time with your family after dinner walking the dogs around the block if you have pets in your household. Even 30 minutes most days of the week can be effective according to the American College of Sports Medicine. If you can do more, then that’s great, but don’t put off exercising because you think you have to spend hours doing it. Just get started and take the first step towards a new, healthier body for you. Your heart will thank you for it!