February is American Heart Month, which makes it the perfect time to start thinking about your heart’s health. If you haven’t been keeping up with your health, then now is the perfect time to get back on the program to ensure your heart is going strong. There are a lot of things you can do for your heart, including eating right, drinking water and even flossing your teeth. However, one of the most important things you can do for your heart is exercise. These ten tips will give you a few ideas to help you build a stronger heart without having to spend money at the gym or on unnecessary equipment. So, get ready to get your heart fit for the month dedicated to celebrating and increasing awareness of your ticker.
1. Don’t Sit Still
In this day and age, it is hard not to find yourself sitting for way too long. Between so many people having a job at an office and today’s technological entertainment industry, you may find yourself lounging more than you can ever imagine. There are ways to combat this lifestyle though. For starters, you might want to consider setting up a timer to alert you every 20 minutes. You can do this on fitness apps on your phone or smart watch. However, there are also options for your computer browser, which are designed to help protect your eyes too. When your timer goes off, make sure to get up and stretch your body for a minute or so. You might also consider doing some exercises like jumping jacks or sit ups. Before you know it, your heart will start feeling better. You might even improve your concentration.
You probably guessed that jogging and running were going to be on this list. That is because this exercise is one of the best ways to get an incredible cardio workout without causing you to spend a penny. Running and jogging will get your heart pumping and your lungs working harder, which means you’ll be burning calories and improving your body’s endurance. The best thing about running is you can do it just about anywhere at just about any time. All you need is some comfortable clothes and a pair of running shoes and you’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle. Of course, you should know your limits with this workout. Start out small and work yourself up in order to prevent shock to your body.
3. Climb Stairs
Anyone that lives on the upper floor of an apartment building or works in a high rise will know how daunting the flights of stairs can be when the elevator is down. You might take the next technical malfunction as a favor though because climbing stairs is one of the best ways to work your heart. This simple activity is easy to do for most people and will allow you to go at your own pace. If you don’t have a lot of stairs near your home, then keep repeating your trip up and down a smaller staircase. You might also find a public place with stairs that you can use. These exercises will get your heart pumping faster, will help strengthen your lungs and will even begin to sculpt your legs so you can look better than ever. Best of all, the exercise is totally free and can be easily done during a work break for many people.
If you have a bicycle, then you already have one of the best pieces of workout equipment around. A nice cycling trip can help you improve your heart without forcing you to put in a whole lot of effort. One of the best ways to get in a cycling workout with little effort is to ditch your car. Try commuting to work or school on your bike. You might even consider taking it to the grocery store if you don’t have a lot of items to purchase. If this isn’t an option, then you might consider taking your bike out on a trail. Lighter trails can be found at most parks, while intense trails are typically found near hiking destinations. This might help you have more fun with your workout too while allowing you to get some fresh air. If a bicycle, simply isn’t an option for you then an elliptical can help do the trick. You might be able to buy one for cheap at a thrift store. Sometimes apartment or office gyms will have them to use too. You can also get a cheap membership to the YMCA opposed to pricey gyms. No matter how or where you ride, your cycling trip is bound to burn calories and leave your heart feeling outstanding.
5. Aerobic Fun
Aerobic exercises aren’t always labeled as fun, especially to those who have put their faith into boring programs. However, there are lots of great aerobic exercises out there that can suit your own personal interests. For instance, there are a ton of dancing classes out there that use aerobic techniques to give your body the workout it needs. You might also consider a self-defense course. For instance, there are many programs like kick boxing, which utilize marital arts with aerobic workouts. If these don’t seem to appeal to you then you might consider taking an aquatic aerobics class, which will spice up your time in the pool. There are also old school workout videos that will help you have a little nostalgic fun while sweating to the oldies and so on.
If you find yourself a bit stressed out on most days, then Tai-Chi might be the workout you need in your life. This exercise allows you to use martial art moves while combining slow breathing and relaxed movements. Tai-Chi will help you enjoy a Zen like experience while also ensuring you get your heart pumping. You might not feel out of breath during this exercise, but you’ll still strengthen your heart, while reducing stress that can cause your heart damage. This activity is perfect for a weekend too and can be done anywhere. There are a lot of free videos online to choose from, so you can find an instructor that appeals to you for free before you even begin.
When it comes to treating the entire body right, swimming is a go-to exercise. This amazing sport allows you to work out muscles in your arms, legs and core without forcing you to do harm to your joints. On top of that, it helps increase your lung capacity, since you have to work on timed breathing to ensure you can swim longer. The movements in this exercise will cause your heart to pump harder too, which will give it the workout it needs to maintain its health and strength. Swimming can be a lot of fun too, which helps many people stick with it. If you don’t have a community or work pool to take advantage of, there are many membership programs to check out, which shouldn’t cost you a lot of money.
8. Strength Training
Improving your physique can also do your heart a bit of a favor. This activity is fairly simple to take on too and will allow you to work with your own personal needs. All you need to start out on this activity is a couple of weights. You can start off small and work your way up, particularly since most single weights won’t cost you a lot of money. If you don’t have weights then consider using items you have around the house, like cans. As you improve on your weightlifting skills, you might find yourself wanting to upgrade your equipment. The best time to do so is at the beginning of the year when there are numerous sales to help people make their resolutions a reality. You might also check out a free or low-cost gym to meet your needs. No matter how you choose to tackle this activity, your heart will love the hard work you put into it.
Another great activity to take on is yoga. Much like Tai-Chi, this activity is designed to help you reduce stress while combating anxiety and improving on your breathing. Many of the stretches you will do in this activity will require you to move in ways that force your heart to pump faster. Thanks to the breathing exercises associated with the activity, your blood stream will have a lot more oxygen to work with too. With the combination of strength required for the activity, your breathing exercises and the calming effect that yoga has on the mind and body, you’ll be feeling great in no time.
10. Brisk Walk
If you’re just starting to work on your heart health, then this activity might be the way to go. Walking is one of the best ways to keep your heart pumping faster for longer periods of time. You might not burn as many calories with this activity, but you will be able to keep it up for longer than you might other activities. Walking is also a lot more relaxing, which will help your body get rid of excess stress. One of the best times to work on this activity is early in the morning as it will help jump start your metabolism. You can also enjoy a walk after dinner each day to improve digestion while also helping to burn off excess calories from the day. As long as you walk briskly for a half an hour or more, you’re bound to feel better while enjoying results that are easy to recognize.
American Health Month is the perfect time to think more about your heart’s health. These ten ideas won’t cause you to break your budget, nor will they get in the way of your hectic schedule. By dedicating time to improve your heart health now, you’ll be able to reap the benefits for years to come. So, get moving and improve your life! You don’t even have to wait for February to arrive.