The key to living a long and healthy life is exercise, especially the older you get. According to WebMD, aerobic exercise “helps cut your chances of getting heart disease. It’s good for your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, energy level, and mood.”
Furthermore, studies in the past have shown that regular exercise—30-60 minutes a day–can help lower blood sugar and blood pressure, boosts HDL and can reduce the protein that contributes to blood clots.
So, what are the best exercises to prevent heart disease? Below are five great exercises to keep in mind. However, be sure to talk with your doctor first before engaging in exercise. They can also help determine what activities are best for your overall health.
Studies have shown that for every hour of walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours. Furthermore, walking is a great exercise for seniors because it can help build endurance.
Start slowly by incorporating walking into your daily routine so that eventually you can handle 1-2 hour walks and hikes around your neck of the woods. As your endurance builds, so too will the energy for other aerobic exercises, such as brisk walking, jogging and even running. Again, talk with your physician to see if these exercises are right for you.
In addition, be sure to wear a pedometer to measure the steps you’re taking each day.
Unlike other aerobic exercises, swimming is a great option for seniors because it puts less stress and strain on the body, which means less chance for injury. Your local rec or fitness center may offer programs such as water aerobics, basic swimming lessons, water relaxation exercises and water resistance exercises.
Furthermore, swimming can also help boost your mental health and reduce your stress levels through social interaction that the class provides.
- Dynamic stretching
Stretching is a low-intensity exercise that can help increase blood flow and energy levels—which is good for your heart health. As opposed to static stretching, dynamic stretching requires movement that helps lengthens your muscles. Good dynamic stretching exercises include: half squats, arm swings, leg swings and shoulder circles. Tai chi, pilates and yoga are also great forms of exercise that incorporate dynamic stretching.
In addition, stretching can help seniors improve their balance and reduce the risk of falling.
Studies have shown people older than 50 have significant reductions in resting blood pressure readings after two-plus months of standard or circuit-style strength training. In short, strength and weight training can reduce symptoms of chronic diseases, such as depression, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and sleep disorders.
Furthermore, you lose your muscle strength as you get older. As such, weight training and exercises can help prevent future muscle loss. Good weight exercises include: bicep curls, overhead press and forward lunges.
Remember that you should be able to complete 2 sets of 10 reps in good form before increasing the weights.
- Join a recreational sports team/league
Lastly, if you’re looking for more social interactions with your exercise routines, consider joining a recreational sports team. From tennis to basketball and softball, there are many team and individual sports that will give you a good cardio workout, which can help prevent heart disease.
Remember, as you get older, the more important it is to exercise. These five exercises are easy ways to prevent heart disease.