Keep Your Heart Fit and Benefit
February is American Heart Month. At FITBENCH it’s in our DNA to live an active daily lifestyle and to guide our customers in their journey towards accomplishing their health goals. One of the leading causes of death for both men and women in the United States is heart disease. Most middle-aged and young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or being a smoker or overweight. Having multiple risk factors increases your risk for heart disease.
Therefore, devoting a little time every day to care for yourself can go a long way toward protecting the health of your heart. Simple self-care, such as taking a moment to de-stress, giving yourself time to move more, preparing healthier meals, and not cheating on sleep can all benefit your heart. And that’s a good thing, because heart disease is largely preventable and focusing on improving your heart health has never been more important. People with poor cardiovascular health are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
“Studies show self-care routines, such as taking a daily walk and keeping doctor’s appointments, help us keep our blood pressure in the healthy range and reduce our risk of heart disease and stroke,” said David Goff, M.D., Director of cardiovascular sciences at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Understanding how physical activity benefits your heart can be strong motivation to get moving. Below are seven heart benefits of exercise according to John’s Hopkins Medicine.
1.) Exercise lowers blood pressure.
Exercise works like beta-blocker medication to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure (at rest and also when exercising). High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.
2.) Exercise is key to weight control.
Especially when combined with a smart diet, being physically active is an essential component for losing weight and even more important for keeping it off. Being overweight puts stress on the heart and is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
3.) Exercise helps strengthen muscles.
A combination of aerobic workouts (which, depending on your fitness level, can include walking, running, swimming, and other vigorous heart-pumping exercise) and strength training (weightlifting, resistance training) is considered best for heart health. These exercises improve the muscles’ ability to draw oxygen from the circulating blood. That reduces the need for the heart—a muscular organ itself—to work harder to pump more blood to the muscles, whatever your age.
4.) Exercise can help you quit smoking.
As smokers become more fit, they often quit. And people who are fit in the first place are less likely to ever start smoking, which is one of the top risk factors for heart disease because it damages the structure and function of blood vessels.
5.) Exercise can stop or slow the development of diabetes.
Johns Hopkins research has shown that when combined with strength training, regular aerobic exercise such as cycling, brisk walking, or swimming can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by over 50% by allowing the muscles to better process glycogen, a fuel for energy, which when impaired, leads to excessive blood sugars, and thus diabetes.
6.) Exercise lowers stress.
Stress hormones can put an extra burden on the heart. Exercise—whether aerobic (like running), resistance-oriented (like weight training) or flexibility-focused (like yoga)—can help you relax and ease stress.
7.) Exercise reduces inflammation.
With regular exercise, chronic inflammation is reduced as the body adapts to the challenge of exercise on many bodily systems. This is an important factor for reducing the adverse effects of many of the diseases just mentioned.
The World Health Organization (WHO) as well as the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend that adults should engage in 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every week. Alternatively, you can engage in 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity, or a combination of both moderate and vigorous activity.At FITBENCH we are dedicated to providing our customers with safe and innovative ways to stay moving while also flexing the mind and body. Each FITBENCH is commercial grade and comes fully equipped with ready-to-use dumbbells, kettlebells, slam balls and a fully integrated incline bench top allowing for unlimited exercises and total body workouts. We’ve also developed an app with over 350 guided exercises and workouts that are sure to boost your cardio and keep your heart healthy and happy!