Celebrate Heart Month with these 4 Exercises

Get that heart pumping! February is stroke and heart awareness month so let’s get moving!

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines, exercise should consist of four parts; cardiovascular exercise, resistance exercise, flexibility exercise, and neuromuscular exercise.

#1 Cardiovascular exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate. 

  • Perform at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week

    • 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 times per week OR

    • 20-60 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise 3 times per week

  • Complete in one continuous time frame or multiple shorter bouts of at least 10 min at a time

  • Progress time, frequency, and intensity should be gradually

Try starting with a walking program!  Grab those sneakers and a pal and hit the park!  Too snowy?  Head to the mall before it opens to log some miles.  A pedometer can help keep you accountable!

#2 Resistance exercise is any exercise that forces your skeletal muscles (not heart) to work. 

  • Train major muscle groups 2-3 days per week

  • Perform 2-4 sets of each exercise with....

    • 8-12 reps to increase strength and power

    • 10-15 reps to increase strength in middle age and older individuals

    • 15-20 reps to increase muscular endurance

  • Wait 48 hours between strength sessions

There’s plenty you can do at home to start!  Grab two water bottles as weights to do arm exercises, and use a chair to squat and work on those glutes!

#3 Flexibility exercise is movement that improves range of motion of your joints that allow them to move freely.

  • Perform flexibilty exercises 2-3 days per week

  • Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds, repeated 2-4 times to accumulate 60 seconds

Grab a yoga strap, stretch out strap, dog leash, or towel and let’s start stretching!

#4 Neuromuscular exercise is sometimes called functional fitness and includes balance, agility, coordination, and gait (walking). 

  • Perform these exercises 2-3 days per week for 20-30 minutes per day

Make sure when you start working on balance, you stay near a counter, wall or chair so you have support if you need it!

Ok, so here's your comprehensive plan to keep that heart healthy and strong